Now is the time to maximize the net air benefits of using more natural gas, and there are 4 key actions that must be taken to do so.
No doubt, by displacing coal and oil, the use of more natural gas cuts air emissions, including toxic air pollutants like mercury, lead, and arsenic, throughout America and Pennsylvania. But gas could create even more net air benefits, if the air emissions from producing the gas itself are cut.
The 2012 EPA gas drilling regulation , the MIT study of methane emissions/green completions at 4,000 shale gas wells, the Rand study of gas drilling emissions in Pennsylvania, plus pilot efforts by Apache and EQT to switch from diesel to gas during drilling and hydraulic fracturing map how 4 big, key actions could cut air emissions by up to 90% from natural gas production.
The big 4 emission reduction steps are: 1. green completions; 2. best available pollution controls on compressor stations; 3. fuel switching from diesel to gas for gas drilling rigs and fracking pumps; and 4. excellent maintenance of gas delivery infrastructure. Each of these actions greatly reduce the biggest sources of air pollutants from gas drilling and so provide together a means of slashing total air emissions by up to 90%.
Now is the time to maximize the air benefits of natural gas!