Unconventional Gas Drilling: Analysis of Air Quality Risks and Regulation

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Garry Brewer
Essay Abstract: 
From its reputation as being the savior of our country's energy independence to its status as the contaminator of air, water, and soil, fracking is a popular topic of discussion for many. Often, fracking is associated with health risks, usually from water contamination. However, air pollution from fracking is also associated with serious health risks. This thesis analyzes four significant studies done on the air emissions from fracking by using a template to discipher the validity of the studies and their importance, while also taking note of the missing pieces. The studies are then used to support the claim that the US needs more stringent regulations on fracking to protect human health. Suggestions for better regulatory systems are then discussed and the conclusion is that in order to reduce the health risks from fracking, emissions must be aggregated. Ideally, this will be done by permitting by airshed and also using a trading program, which would allow the industry to reduce emissions in the most economical way.