An Exxon fracking explosion spawned one of the worst methane carbon pollution releases in US history

  • 12/20/2019 9:50 am ET Sneha Konda
An Exxon fracking explosion spawned one of the worst methane carbon pollution releases in US history

Screenshot / Twitter

A 2018 fracking well accident in Ohio resulted in one of the worst methane leaks ever recorded in U.S. history, according to a study released earlier this week.

The natural-gas well located near Ohio’s Powhatan Point was a subsidiary of oil conglomerate, Exxon. It blew up, damaging the well and spewing over 57,000 metric tons of the dangerous, global-warming, colorless, odorless, methane gas into the atmosphere.

This is reportedly more than what some European nations like Norway, France, and Spain emit in a whole year.

Although this rural Ohio episode didn’t generate a lot of national attention, it’s getting it now. TROPOMI, a satellite designed to monitor methane leaks made the shocking discovery. And it was consequently published as a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Steven Hamburg, one of its authors and a top scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) said that the power heat-trapping methane gas (CH4) was the cause of one-quarter of the global warming we’re currently trying to fight.

This comes at a time when regulations are already lax. The Trump administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under him, rolled back Obama-era regulations that required oil and gas firms to monitor and fix methane leaks.

Although corporations like ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest public oil and gas companies, have set targets to reduce emissions by 15% in 2020, the EDF found that USA’s gas emissions were a shocking 60% over EPA’s estimates.

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