EPA Targets Air Pollution from Gas Drilling Boom

July 28, 2011 - 2:29 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government is proposing for the first time to control air pollution at oil and gas wells, particularly those drilled using a method called hydraulic fracturing.

The proposal, issued Thursday to meet a court deadline, addresses air pollution problems reported in the midst of a natural gas drilling boom in places such as Wyoming, Texas, Pennsylvania and Colorado.

The regulations will nearly eliminate releases of smog- and soot-forming pollutants from fractured wells, those drilled by injecting sand, water and chemicals underground. New controls on equipment and transmission pipelines will reduce toxic and heat-trapping pollution from drilling sites on land.

The gases escape during drilling, along pipelines and from other equipment.

The EPA says the rules will save companies about $30 million annually.