Cheap natural gas leads to more plants and pollution, report suggests

Environmental group says 44 large-scale petrochemical developments would spew as much pollution as 19 new coal-fired power plants.

February 29, 2016   by The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — An environmental watchdog group cautions that the nation’s boom in cheap natural gas – often viewed as a clean energy source – is spawning a wave of petrochemical plants that, if built, will emit massive amounts of greenhouse gases.

The Washington-based Environmental Integrity Project says hydraulic fracturing of shale rock formations and other advances, such as horizontal drilling, have made natural gas cheap and plentiful – so plentiful that the US has begun exporting gas.

Thanks to this energy boom, the group calculated that if 44 large-scale petrochemical developments proposed or permitted in 2015 were built they would spew as much pollution as 19 new coal-fired power plants would.

The report says this potential load of pollution needs to be considered in efforts to curb greenhouse gases.

Download a copy of the report here.

© 2016 The Associated Press

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