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Understanding Eagle Ford shale’s impact on air quality

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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This morning, the Weather Channel, InsideClimate News, and the Center for Public Integrity released a documentary on the air quality impacts oil and gas development in Texas’s Eagle Ford shale. They also released a series of infographics on sources of air emissions during development, including the following:


According to a new documentary, the air quality impacts of development in Texas’s Eagle Ford shale are not well monitored or documented. Those involved in the 8-month investigation by the Weather Channel, InsideClimate News, and the Center for Public Integrity claim that the five permanent air monitors in the 20,000 square mile Eagle Ford shale development region were not enough to accurately track the impacts of higher drilling activity. In their press release, they made no comment on whether or not air quality monitoring throughout the United States – in their opinion – is sufficient.

To see the entire documentary – link.

Note: infographic by InsideClimate News and used with permission.

Melissa C. Lott About the Author: An engineer and researcher who works at the intersection of energy, environment, technology, and policy. Follow on Twitter @mclott.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. singing flea 3:02 pm 02/18/2014

    This first line almost made me laugh if it were not so sad how Americans with money think, “When Lynn Buehring leaves her doctor’s office in San Antonio she makes sure her inhaler is on the seat beside her, then steers her red GMC pickup truck southeast on U.S. 181, toward her home on the South Texas prairie.”
    Does she need this truck to haul her inhaler? Is there too much space in her cab to properly filter with the air conditioner?
    The article become more hysterical with this quote, “The regulation of oil and gas extraction falls primarily to the states, whose rules vary dramatically. States are also responsible for enforcing the federal Clean Air Act, an arrangement that is problematic in Texas, which has sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 18 times in the last decade.” Need I say any more? Okay, one more quote, “The TCEQ is led by three commissioners appointed by Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican who favors dismantling the EPA and voices doubt about climate change. TCEQ officials often go on to jobs as lobbyists for the energy industry they once regulated.”

    I think this pretty much says it all. If this doctor wants change I suggest she doesn’t vote for Perry and his partners in crime. Who want’s to bet she is a republican?

    Link to this
  2. 2. z34aa 7:37 pm 02/18/2014

    I would really like to see some of the people who always complain about SUV’s and trucks try to drive a smart car on some of south Texas’s back roads. And god help you if it’s been raining. I have a feeling that most of the people who make comments about the subject have lived in cities their whole life.

    Yes, the huge monster trucks and hummers are a horrible waste of resources and needlessly pollute the atmosphere, but some people in the US aren’t getting large cars just to spite environmentalists, they have a real need for them. Families that have three or four kids that they need to take to soccer practice, and groceries they need to pick up (A lot of groceries since driving twenty to twenty-five, there and back, more than once week or two isn’t practical.) won’t fit in a compact car.

    Likewise trucks aren’t just some kind of overcompensation for a lack of fullness in the trousers department, they are tools that are really needed for hauling things, in and outside of work.

    More understanding of how different people in the US live and what they need for that life is needed if as a country we are going to move on climate change. Every time people who live in the more rural parts of America hear unreasonable demands and insults thrown at them they are less and less likely to listen to what else those same people say about climate change.

    If people are really interested in changing things, they need to realize that it’s only when people don’t consider you an enemy that they will start to listen to you, until then, even if what you are saying is the most accurate, common sense, life saving concept ever invented, they won’t care. It’s sadly part of human nature to oppose everything, no matter how good, if it comes from the ‘other’ side.

    (flea, this wasn’t directed at you, just more inspired by your comment as it were. Sorry if I’m off topic a bit.)

    Link to this

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