Drilling and air quality 
deserve a closer look

Projections for the availability of natural gas in this country, as well as the uses for that gas, continue to grow. They point to natural gas playing a major role in a cleaner U.S. energy supply that is far less dependent on foreign imports.

But, for all this to occur, we must first get natural gas out of the ground, and do so in an environmentally responsible manner.

That’s why a study being undertaken by Colorado State University regarding air quality and emissions around drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations is so critical.

It’s also important that both Garfield County, with a contribution of $1 million, and the energy industry, which is putting up $800,000, are working jointly to pay for the study.

Billed as first-of-a-kind research into the dispersal of emissions from drilling and fracking, the CSU study may help industry and government officials understand how large an impact, if any, emissions have on air quality near drilling sites, and how they can respond to alleviate those impacts.

There’s little doubt that natural gas will play a greater part in our energy diet in the future.

Just this month, a Canadian energy analyst told Bloomberg magazine that, based on data from drilling reports around the country, he believes the United States has nearly three times as much recoverable natural gas as the U.S. government estimated just a year ago.

Furthermore, scientists are working rapidly to develop new uses for our abundant natural gas. Reports this week talked of new efforts to produce diesel and jet fuel from natural gas.

So kudos to the Garfield County commissioners and the energy companies involved in funding the CSU study. They have recognized the need to get out front on the issue of drilling and air quality.


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