The news story appeared in THE HILL, “Conservation group sues EPA over fracking smog in Colorado” and reads in part:
“We’re never going to solve our smog problem until the EPA cracks down on Colorado allowing unlimited air pollution from drilling and fracking.”Robert Ukeiley, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity
Summer of ’22 got off to a ‘bad air’ start in the Pittsburgh region, with multiple “Code Orange” ozone action days. With all the drilling, fracking and gas processing in the Pittsburgh tri-state, it’s no wonder. The EPA describes the health effects:
“People most at risk from breathing air containing ozone include people with asthma, children, older adults, and people who are active outdoors, especially outdoor workers. Children are at greatest risk from exposure to ozone because their lungs are still developing and they are more likely to be active outdoors when ozone levels are high, which increases their exposure. Children are also more likely than adults to have asthma.”Health Effects of Ozone Pollution – EPA
While I’ve seen several brown layers of air pollution around the Pittsburgh tri-state, I was shocked by the ‘black veil’ that I photographed hanging over Hickory, Pennsylvania one May morning in 2015. The Hickory area has seen some of the earliest and most intense Marcellus shale oil and gas development.
“In the stratosphere, ozone protects life on Earth from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. In contrast, at lower levels, it is an important greenhouse gas and air pollutant, which is harmful to human and ecosystem health. It is also a major component of urban smog. Strategies to prevent the formation of tropospheric ozone are primarily based on methane reductions and cutting the levels of atmospheric pollution arising from man-made sources, such as agriculture and fossil fuel production and distribution.”Tropospheric Ozone – Climate & Clean Air Coalition