Joe Nocera states that President Obama’s “moment of truth” on taking action on methane emissions from fracking has arrived.
Methane emissions “are fracking’s Achilles’ heel. Methane is the primary ingredient in natural gas, and, when it is burned, it is considerably less dirty than coal. The problem is that methane too often leaks at various points in the production and distribution process.”
“It also turns out that lowering methane emissions does not require enormously expensive new technology. It can be done with technology that already exists and at fairly minimal cost. I’ve seen estimates that it would add a penny to the current price of natural gas . What’s more, a 50 percent reduction in methane emissions is the equivalent to closing 90 coal-fired power plants, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.”
While fracking is currently regulated by the states, not every state is taking action. “What’s more, there are an enormous number of companies in the fracking business — literally thousands. Fracking practically screams out for federal regulation.”
Nocera contends that “adding methane emission regulation could well get us over the goal line” to the Obama administration’s goal of reducing greenhouse gasses by 17 percent by the year 2020.