This Article Originally Appeared on Forbes.com
Many on the left have long viewed hydraulic fracturing and low natural gas prices as a threat to their zero-carbon utopia. Affordable, clean burning natural gas not only undermines the economics of solar and wind, but also the justification for these fickle sources of energy.
Last winter, New York and a handful of other Northeast states announced they were going to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to force stricter methane regulations. The New York Attorney General wrote:
"EPA has found that the impacts of climate change caused by methane include “increased air and ocean temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, melting and thawing of global glaciers and ice, increasingly severe weather events-such as hurricanes of greater intensity-and sea level rise.” In 2009, EPA determined that methane and other greenhouse gases endanger the public’s health and welfare."
"The EPA’s decision not to directly address the emissions of methane from oil and natural gas operations-including hydrofracking-leaves almost 95% of these emissions uncontrolled."
It appears that these radical actors, New York is one of a few states that bans hydraulic fracturing, have the ear of our government. Included in the State Department’s just released 2014 Climate Action Report is a call for an interagency methane strategy and all but announces future EPA methane regulations:
"Methane emissions will be addressed by developing a 40 comprehensive, interagency methane strategy, focusing on assessing current emissions data, 41 addressing data gaps, identifying technologies and best practices for reducing emissions, and 42 identifying existing authorities and incentive-based opportunities to reduce methane emissions."
Luckily for the EPA and State Department, a new study by the University of Texas and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) revealed that methane emissions associated with natural gas production are far less than previously thought. EDF, an organization that is often critical of the oil and natural gas industry, calculated that average emissions were almost 50 times lower than EPA estimates.