EPA Facts

The High Cost of Red Tape:
Natural Gas

The natural gas sector has grown dramatically in recent years with the advent of the shale-gas boom. Though some environmental groups have tentatively embraced natural gas as a “bridge fuel” between coal and renewable energy, they’ve been quick to criticize the industry for the environmental impact caused by fracking—a process used to extract natural gas from the earth.

Questionable Fracking Study

The EPA issued a report in 2011 that blamed fracking for contamination of water in an aquifer below one Wyoming town. The agency’s methodology has been heavily criticized and the study has not been through the peer review process. After criticism from officials in Wyoming, the EPA dropped the study in June 2013.

So far states and municipalities have taken the lead in regulating fracking. Several localities in New York State have completely banned the use of fracking to extract natural gas.

Methane Limits

Natural gas produces fewer carbon dioxide emissions than coal, but is expected to soon be the target of EPA action due to methane emissions. The State Department’s 2014 Climate Action Report calls for an interagency methane strategy and “all but announces future EPA methane regulations,” according to Forbes.

Coal and natural gas combine to provide 67 percent of our nation’s energy. With new EPA regulations to crack down on emissions limits, electric bills across the country will increase dramatically.