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On The Hunt For Methane Leaks

The 2015 leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility near Los Angeles was a grim reminder of how devastating methane leaks can be. The Environmental Defense Fund estimates that the four-month leak will have the same 20-year climate impact as burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline.

Burning natural gas for electricity is much cleaner than coal. But there's a problem - leaking methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Nearly 2 years ago Colorado implemented rules to try to limit methane leaks from natural gas infrastructure. Now the EPA is proposing to model federal rules on Colorado's. Still finding and plugging leaks remains a challenge nationwide. In Pennsylvania, where thousands of gas wells and pipelines are working the Marcellus Shale, researchers are trying to figure out how much is leaking. For our Inside Energy project, The Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier tagged along.
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Clean Or Contaminated? Residents Fear Tainted Water Post Fracking

The soles of Jesse Eakin’s shoes disintegrate after a few months of walking on his lawn. He’s been told the culprit may be toluene, a volatile organic compound released into the air during natural gas production. The chemical settles onto his grass.

There’s growing evidence that activities related to hydraulic fracturing can contaminate water supplies. A controversial draft report last year from the Environmental Protection Agency said the contamination was not widespread or systemic --- yet for a number of households whose water has been tainted, and for many more who fear it is tainted, the struggle for clean water can sap energy and take years. Maryam Jameel from the Center for Public Integrity has the first of two stories on families in Pennsylvania desperate for answers. Continue Reading →

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Government Opposes Alpha’s Plan To Sell Wyoming Mines

Alpha Natural Resources

As Alpha Natural Resources looks to emerge from bankruptcy, the government is opposing the company’s plan to transfer its federal coal leases to a new company. The Department of Justice argues Alpha’s current reorganization plan doesn’t adequately address the company’s cleanup obligations. Continue Reading →

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Hot Waste: Getting Rid Of Drilling’s Radioactive Leftovers

Byproducts of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, create radioactive waste like the truckload shown here in West Virginia.

The energy that lights up, turns on, cools and heats our lives leaves... a trail of waste. And the waste from the gas drilling known as “fracking” is often radioactive. Reporter Glynis Board and the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity found that inconsistent regulation of this “hot” waste creates ripe conditions for dangerous disposal. Continue Reading →

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