Air pollution from drilling operations much worse than thought, scientists say

Gas well leaks include benzene, scientists say.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is warning about high methane and benzene gas levels escaping from oil and gas drilling operations in Colorado.

The scientists stumbled onto their discovery after setting up a routine tower-based monitoring system a few years ago.

When one tower recorded high levels of methane and benzene, they tried to find the source and traced it back to oil and gas production in northeastern Colorado’s Weld Country.

The gas operations were leaking double the amount of methane than previously thought and they also leaked other pollutants, including benzene, which is regulated by the EPA because of its toxicity.

The researchers were also concerned about other volatile organic compounds leaking out.

NOAA published its results in the Journal of Geophysical Research in late February.

Source: Summit Voice

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