En­ergy ex­perts: Drilling can be cleaner

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT -

PITTS­BURGH — In the Colorado moun­tains, a spike in air pol­lu­tion has been linked to a boom in oil and gas drilling. On the North Texas plains, there’s a drilling boom, too, but some air pol­lu­tion lev­els have de­clined. Op­po­nents point to Colo- rado and say drilling is dan­ger­ous. Com­pa­nies point to Texas and say drilling is safe.

The an­swer ap­pears to be that drilling can be safe or dan­ger­ous. In­dus­try prac­tices, en­force­ment, ge­og­ra­phy and even snow cover can af­fect air pol­lu­tion.

Nearly all sides agree that the tech­nol­ogy ex­ists to con­trol meth­ane gas leaks and other air pol­lu­tion as­so­ci­ated with drilling. The bad news is that the in­dus­try is boom­ing so rapidly that some com­pa­nies and some reg­u­la­tors can’t seem to get ahead of the prob­lems, which could cost bil­lions of dol­lars to rem­edy.

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