Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fracking and Excessive Greenhouse Gases

Tara gas field, Queensland Australia

Ninety-four hundred miles (give or take) from the Marcellus gas fields folks are worried about the same things: the air they breathe and the water they drink. Farmers in Queensland, Australia have already noticed the water table dropping – not to mention the piles of junk left behind by drilling operators.

Now, residents near Australia’s biggest coal seam gas field can add one more worry to their list: excess greenhouse gases. When researchers from Southern Cross University took mobile air testing equipment to the Tara gas field near Condamine in Queensland, they discovered that the air has more than  three times the level of toxic gases than expected – at least based on the industry's claim that leakage from the wellheads is "negligible."

At sites within a few miles of the Tara field wellheads, methane was measured   as high as 6.89 parts per million, compared with a normal background level of about 2 parts per million, the air test results showed.

Add to that a growing number of health concerns. One physician (with the New South Wales chapter of Doctors for the Environment) told the press of increasing complaints of rashes, nausea, headaches and nose bleeds among people living close to the Tara gas fields.

In unsurprising comments to the press, industry representatives calls the study awaiting peer review “incomplete” and “lacking rigor” and claim the scientists are biased against the gas industry.Read more here.

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