Eagle Ford counties are at high risk for exposure to dangerous gas and air pollution, according to a newly released ‘threat map’ .
The new interactive map map highlights schools, hospitals and populations centers in 35 states that are located within 1/2 mile from dangerous natural gas drilling and production activity.
In order to create these maps, three environmental groups – Earthworks, Clean Air Task Force, and FracTracker Alliance -gathered EPA data and models that plot the location of all active oil & gas wells in the United States along with the types of pollutants and the numbers of people at risk.
The map of Texas details the 398,787 active oil and natural gas wells currently in use in the state with over 2.3 million people within the 1/2 mile radius of risk. The map highlights counties in the Eagle Ford as having the highest risk of exposure to methane and carcinogens including DeWitt, Karnes, McMullen, Frio and Zavala Counties.
Industry leaders are criticizing the map, with one official telling the Business Journal, “It is unfortunate that these organizations breed fear through the reckless dissemination of misinformation.”
In May, the EPA finalized the new rule that sets standards for methane leaks along the natural gas production line. Last summer, President Obama revealed a plan designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions 40 – 45 percent by 2025.
Industry leaders are critical of the ruling say they it is unnecessary and too costly. Oil and gas producers are critically fatigued from months of low crude prices and this new regulation will certainly not be sustainable for some. The EPA estimates that the ruling might cost the industry somewhere between $420 – $530 million.