Leaking methane from natural gas pipelines and other related infrastructure is a much more serious problem than had been previously recognized, according to new studies released in the past week. ABRA and its members have long argued that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline presented an environmental and safety hazard to the communities through which it would pass due, among other reasons, because of possible methane leaks.
A study published December 16 in the publication Environmental Research Letters, concludes that methane leaks from natural gas infrastructure are so great that they effectively cancel out any climate benefits realized from replacing coal with natural gas as a fuel for generating electricity. For more on the study and a link to it, click here.
The problem of methane leakage was strongly underscored by two recent New York Times stories. A December 12 interactive story revealed the results of infrared photography of natural gas facilities in Texas that show the considerable extent of methane leaks. A December 16 Times story detailed the findings of a recent study, using satellite surveillance of methane leaks, which observed that a 2018 fracking site accident in Belmont County, OH was “one of the largest methane leaks ever recorded in the United States,” releasing more methane than the reported annual emissions of the oil and gas industries of countries like Norway and France.”