Smart hunters know where to go. Smart anglers know where the fish are. And smart efforts to cut air pollution from the gas production process must go where the biggest sources of emissions are.
Rand's Pennsylvania "fracking" air pollution study that this blog discussed in a posting on Friday, January 31st provides a strong guide for air pollution hunters and for the gas industry itself. To put it simply, the lion's share of non-carbon air emissions coming from drilling, producing, and delivering gas are from the operations of compressor stations.
In fact, stunningly compressor stations alone account for 60% to 75% of total air pollution from the gas industry, according to Rand. This finding means that slashing emissions from compressor stations slashes total gas industry air emissions, perhaps by about 50% or more.
The great news furthermore is that multiple means--from fuel switching to technology fixes--exist to cut by as much as 90% emissions from compressor stations. Those fixes should be required.
Slashing air emissions from gas production will boost further the considerable net air benefits from using more gas to make electricity, power homes, and fuel vehicles. Already, more gas usage is a major reason why the emission of toxic air pollutants, soot, as well as pollutants that cause smog and acid rain are plummeting. Cutting compressor station emissions will enable gas to make our air even cleaner.