The Environmental Protection Agency may have to hit the brakes. Instead of giving drillers of shale gas a green light, some science advisors to it have said that its current draft has some faults, noting that EPA’s conclusions are “comprehensive but lacking in several critical areas.”
When EPA’s latest draft was released in June 2015, the natural gas industry said that it had underscored its commitment to safety and that properly drilling techniques did not endanger drinking water supplies. As far as the White House goes, it has always thought natural gas to be the quickest way to replace carbon-heavy coal, and thus wants to see the industry succeed — despite what some in the natural gas industry have maintained.
The reality is that is that if the American people lose trust in its natural gas developers, it would not just set back the industry but also the Obama administration’s carbon reduction efforts: 32 percent cuts by 2030, from 2005 levels.
“We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States,” adding that while there had been isolated problems, those were “small compared to the number of hydraulically fractured wells,” EPA’s report said.
However, 26 of the 30 scientists on the panel advising EPA said not-so-fast. While EPA had said that fracking did not cause “widespread” issues with regard to drinking water supplies, the panel said that such an amorphous comment needed more meat — that it had to be backed up “quantitatively.”
“Natural gas has been hailed as a solution to global warming but only if it is used alone,” says Chris Martenson, author of PeakProsperity.com. “The fact remains that we have no intention to stop the use of coal … and in reality, natural gas will only be an additive to existing carbon emissions.”
US carbon emissions are now 12 percent less than they were in 2005, says the US Energy Information Administration.