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 change.

        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