Investigation 2

September 9, 2016

SMC B206

Mr. Caswell

Investigation 2

          Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is the practice of pumping material

underground for the sake of breaking rock apart, releasing gas in the process. According to

a peer-reviewed study, methane emissions from North Texas’ Barnett Shale, a fracking

user, are 90% higher than had been initially estimated by the government. Methane is a

natural gas which, if not treated properly, could leak out and absorb the heat from the sun,

warming the atmosphere as a result. It’s a greenhouse gas which is like carbon dioxide,

but 84 times more potent than that gas. Since 2006, which is around the same year the

U.S. began to use fracking, methane has been rising steadily.

          NASA supports the idea of fracking having something to do with methane emissions

by expressing that, through the use of one of their satellites, they had discovered that the

U.S. has particularly large concentration of methane. Just 10% of the individual methane

sources related to fracking alone had made up a good portion of these emissions. May

Boeve, an executive director at, probably summed it up best when she said fossil

fuels should be kept in the ground for the sake of protecting people from bad climate


          The arguments which reject the supposed connection between fracking and methane

emissions include a study by the NOAA in which the emissions are credited to agriculture

and wetlands. They cite business involving livestock and rice in Asian countries as ones

who are responsible for the methane emissions and that the U.S. doesn’t have much to

with such matters. Isaac Orr from essentially makes out the emissions to not

be a big deal, as they tend to be low and repair is done easily in a quick manner. He also

points out that studies conducted over multiple U.S. states emitting methane were found

to be low. He ultimately discredits those studies and the overall point he attempts to get

across is that more studies should be accompanied by credible data.

          K. J. Rodgers from went on to say that the argument regarding

productions involving the emission of gas and oil is flawed, going so far as propose it is

being used for “no fracking agendas.” He even denies the idea that the fracking industry

need more regulations, because it’s already the most regulated. He finishes by mentioning

that natural gas emits less than coal, further supporting his idea that the additional

regulations have no impact.


Brown, K. (2016, March 11). New NOAA Study Undercuts EPA, Finds Fracking Not to Blame for Increased Methane Emissions. Retrieved from

Hamburg, S. Methane: The other important greenhouse gas. Retrieved from

McCauley, L. (2016, August 16). NASA Study Nails Fracking as Source of Massive Methane ‘Hot Spot’. Retrieved from

Orr, I. (2016, September 13). Methane From Fracking: Not the Monster Bill McKibben Sniffs Out. Retrieved from

Propublica. What Is Hydraulic Fracturing? Retrieved from

Rodgers, K. (2016, March 19). Fracking Isn’t Increasing Methane and the Earth is Still Round. Retrieved from

Song, L. (2015, December 7). Texas Fracking Zone Emits 90% More Methane Than EPA Estimated. Retrieved from

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