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Federal Regulations Could Slash Methane from U.S. Fracking Operations

With the Obama Administration approaching its self-imposed deadline for regulating methane emissions from natural gas fracking this fall, New York Times columnist Joe Nocera is calling on the White House to get on with it.

“If the administration takes the right course, methane emissions could likely be reduced by 40-50% percent over the next five years—enough to make natural gas a genuinely cleaner alternative to coal, and a critical component in reducing greenhouse gases,” he writes. “But if it doesn’t—if the government decides to back away from regulation, or allow industry to reduce emissions voluntarily—then the promise of natural gas as a cleaner fuel could well go unrealized.”

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Colorado has taken the lead in the U.S. with its efforts to regulate fracking, Nocera says, but “not every state is rushing to follow Colorado’s lead. What’s more, there are an enormous number of companies in the fracking business—literally thousands. Fracking practically screams out for federal regulation.” This week, the Center for American Progress reported a 135% increase in methane emissions on federal lands between 2008 and 2013, according to the Washington Examiner [2].