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Two Energy States Take Opposite Approaches Toward Regulation

PBS NewsHour reports on a new study that shows a lack of air quality regulations on fracking in the Texas Eagle Ford Shale play. NPR looks at new rules developed by regulators in Colorado, the first in the nation to restrict methane emissions.
February 26, 2014, 12pm PST | Irvin Dawid
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Judy Woodruff of the PBS NewsHour interviews Jim Morris of the Center for Public Integrity, one of the co-authors of a new report written with Inside Climate News and The Weather Channel investigating how fracking is impacting air quality in one of American's largest shale formations, Texas' Eagle Ford Shale play.

Morris states that they found "all manner of toxic chemicals that are associated with oil and gas production that appear to be making people sick, (e.g.) benzene, which can cause cancer, sulfur dioxide, which causes severe lung problems." 

Among the findings reported by Inside Climate News is that "Texas' air monitoring system is so flawed that the state knows almost nothing about the extent of the pollution in the Eagle Ford."

Only five permanent air monitors are installed in the 20,000-square-mile region, and all are at the fringes of the shale play, far from the heavy drilling areas where emissions are highest.

Elizabeth Shogren of NPR reports on a state taking a different approach toward emissions from fracking, the first to restrict methane emissions. Shogren interviews Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director of Colorado's Department of Public Health and Environment.

Wolk "says the rules will help his state clean up its smog problem and fight climate change. Three of Colorado's largest drilling companies helped craft the rules. Dan Grossman from Environmental Defense Fund worked with the companies to come up with the rules."

Of course, Colorado's citizens may have played a role in getting the state to take a pro-active role in addressing emissions from energy production. As we posted last November, "(f)racking bans passed overwhelmingly in the Front Range cities of Boulder, Fort Collins and Lafayette." Broomfield, the fourth city to hold a fracking moratorium referendum, passed it by 20 votes, but a judge will rule on its validity.

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Published on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 in PBS NewsHour
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