New research looks at pollution from Texas natural gas drilling

FORT WORTH, Texas -- An industry group says natural gas drilling in the Barnett Shale produces far less air pollution than an SMU researcher estimated in a publicized study last month, but the researcher says the industry study has major flaws.

Al Armendariz, an engineering professor at Southern Methodist University, who has studied air pollution from cement kilns and other sources, set out to determine the amount of pollution produced by natural gas drilling in the Barnett Shale field, which covers 15 counties around Fort Worth.

His conclusion, released in February, was that the tank batteries and compressor motors used to produce natural gas from the Barnett Shale release 307 tons of volatile organic compounds, a key ingredient in ozone, each day during hot months. That’s more ozone than is produced by all the cars and trucks in the Dallas-Fort Worth region: 273 tons a day.

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