Fracking drives decline in emissions, EPA finds


Greenhouse gas emissions declined in the oil and gas industry, with hydraulic fracturing leading the way, the Environmental Protection Agency said.

EPA released its annual report on trends in greenhouse gas emissions by industrial sector. The agency found overall reported emissions in 2013 from large industrial facilities were 0.6 percent higher year-on-year, with most of the increase coming from coal power generation.

For the oil and natural gas sector, the second largest stationary source of emissions, greenhouse gas output was 1 percent lower than the previous year.

EPA’s report said reported emissions from the oil and gas sector declined 12 percent from its 2011 levels. The largest reduction came from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells, where emissions were down 73 percent from 2011.

Howard Feldman, director of regulatory affairs at the American Petroleum Institute, said the declines came as a result of industry investments made to reduce emissions.

"Thanks in large part to innovations like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, America is leading the world in producing natural gas and reducing greenhouse gas emissions," he said. "Industry will continue to be a leader in environmental stewardship as it maintains our country’s leadership position as the top producer of natural gas"