Did you hear the latest about Natural Gas Development?  A recent Cornell Study found that it actually might be ‘dirtier’ than coal!  It’s true; this new, abundant, domestic form of energy is not exactly what it’s touted to be, but I think we knew that.

Not only do the chemicals that leak out of fracking wells contaminate our air and water causing a magnitude of health effects; but they can also contribute to climate change. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas that can leak out of fracking wells, has pound for pound 105 times more of a warming impact than carbon dioxide, according to the Cornell Study.

There is an interesting twist here, this new development diverts the debate from energy independence and the myriad of water contamination issues associated with fracking.  This study addresses both touted incentives of drilling for natural gas: it’s clean and domestic.  Well that sounds oddly familiar since we’ve already heard that same song and dance from the clean coal PR firm.

Remember the threat of Mountain Top Removal and how we were half-heartedly reassured about new technological developments that allowed for clean coal?  Most environmentalists didn’t even waste their time to consider coal as an energy alternative, because it’s a terrible alternative!  Yet it seems as if natural gas development is being considered by many as a cleaner alternative.  We’ve already identified coal as one of the most destructive energy sources. Now let’s add natural gas to the same list.

Consider what we know.  We’ve identified carcinogenic chemicals spewing over the industry’s fenceline into our homes, schools and communities from fracking.  We’ve identified the connection between greenhouse gasses and ozone pollution.  After adding up all the factors, air & water contamination, pipeline safety, increased ozone pollution and increased greenhouse gas emissions, this is just another safety concern to add to the list surrounding natural gas development.

How can an industry, as unregulated as natural gas development, operate in a clean and safe way?  Is it possible to take the necessary precautions to ensure safe communities?