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Natural gas industry groups question EPA fracking rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overestimated methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing, says a new survey from the American Petroleum Institute and America's Natural Gas Alliance.
BY CELIA AMPEL campel@opubco.com Published: June 5, 2012
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The EPA's rules are based on data from the agency's 2010 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report.

The new industry survey, which is based on data collected in 2010 and 2011, did not require new emissions measurements because Feldman said it would have been too costly to take measurements at hundreds of thousands of locations.

He said the EPA did not survey enough wells to form a representative sample size.

The agency said there are about 355,000 gas wells in the United States, but its survey included only 8,800 wells.

The industry groups surveyed 91,000 wells.

The new report included responses from 19 of 21 “significant” basins, which are basins with more than 1 percent of total national gas wells.

Feldman said the report was prepared by independent contractors Terri Shires of the URS Corp. and Miriam Lev-On of the Levon Group.

“We're as much hands-off as we can be on this kind of thing,” Feldman said. “People want industry … to have responsibility and do studies and try to understand our emissions, so we're doing that.”

Sara Banaszak, vice president and chief economist at ANGA, said the report was released as soon as it was ready, about six weeks after the EPA issued its standards.

Feldman said he was not prepared to address whether API would challenge the rules in court.

CONTRIBUTING: Jay F. Marks, Business Writer