A study on air emissions from Barnett Shale natural gas production activities was recently released by an engineering professor, Dr. Professor Al Armendariz at Southern Methodist University. Entitled “Emissions from Natural Gas Production in the Barnett Shale Area and Opportunities for Cost-Effective Improvements”, the study was commissioned by the Environmental Defense Fund, a New York City-based environmental group. The study was released in the Austin offices of State Representative Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, who serves on the Environmental Regulation Committee.
The EDF study focuses on the 9-county Dallas-Ft. Worth ozone non-attainment area (DFW NAA) as designated by the Environmental Protection Agency which includes Tarrant, Denton, Parker, Johnson, Ellis, Collin, Dallas, Rockwall and Kaufman counties. However, the study refers to emissions for the entire 21- county Barnett Shale region. The EDF study attempts to estimate emissions of the pollutants nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC), hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), and of the greenhouse gases methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Estimating emissions of NOx and VOC is important because these pollutants can contribute to the creation of ozone during certain weather conditions. High ozone levels in the DFW area are responsible for the area being designated a “non-attainment” area by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The primary result from the EDF study was a comparison of the amount of pollutants which come from natural gas production activities in a 21-county area to that which is generated from on-road mobile sources and airports in the 9- county DFW NAA.