This is only a Preview!

You must Publish this diary to make this visible to the public,
or click 'Edit Diary' to make further changes first.

Posting a Diary Entry

Daily Kos welcomes blog articles from readers, known as diaries. The Intro section to a diary should be about three paragraphs long, and is required. The body section is optional, as is the poll, which can have 1 to 15 choices. Descriptive tags are also required to help others find your diary by subject; please don't use "cute" tags.

When you're ready, scroll down below the tags and click Save & Preview. You can edit your diary after it's published by clicking Edit Diary. Polls cannot be edited once they are published.

If this is your first time creating a Diary since the Ajax upgrade, before you enter any text below, please press Ctrl-F5 and then hold down the Shift Key and press your browser's Reload button to refresh its cache with the new script files.


  1. One diary daily maximum.
  2. Substantive diaries only. If you don't have at least three solid, original paragraphs, you should probably post a comment in an Open Thread.
  3. No repetitive diaries. Take a moment to ensure your topic hasn't been blogged (you can search for Stories and Diaries that already cover this topic), though fresh original analysis is always welcome.
  4. Use the "Body" textbox if your diary entry is longer than three paragraphs.
  5. Any images in your posts must be hosted by an approved image hosting service (one of: imageshack.us, photobucket.com, flickr.com, smugmug.com, allyoucanupload.com, picturetrail.com, mac.com, webshots.com, editgrid.com).
  6. Copying and pasting entire copyrighted works is prohibited. If you do quote something, keep it brief, always provide a link to the original source, and use the <blockquote> tags to clearly identify the quoted material. Violating this rule is grounds for immediate banning.
  7. Be civil. Do not "call out" other users by name in diary titles. Do not use profanity in diary titles. Don't write diaries whose main purpose is to deliberately inflame.
For the complete list of DailyKos diary guidelines, please click here.

Please begin with an informative title:

Thousands of gas wells have been drilled in Utah's Uintah basin. An investigation by NOAA & CIRES found that 6% to 12% of the gas produced near Ouray (by hydrofracturing) escaped to the atmosphere raising methane concentrations in air to shockingly high levels.

Each pink spot signifies a well. Zooming in reveals an extraordinary number of wells.
NOAA scientists were shocked to find levels of ozone pollution, as bad as the worst urban air quality, in the middle of desolate western Colorado in the winter of 2011. Since that discovery they have been trying to understand why the air quality was so bad in a region that had never reported air quality problems before.
On a perfect winter day in 2012 NOAA and CIRES scientists sent up a sampling plane to determine the methane levels and the quantity of methane released from oil and gas production activities in the Uintah basin in Utah. The scientists found far more methane than anyone had anticipated.

Methane levels downwind peaked at the stunningly high level of 2080 parts per billion.

When the winds settled down on February 3, a pilot flew a single-engine Mooney TLS aircraft, carrying sophisticated instruments for measuring methane and other atmospheric gases, back and forth in the Uintah Basin. The aircraft measurements let scientists calculate the total amount of methane added to the air mass as it transited the basin. Combining those data with precise measurements of wind speed, made by NOAA colleagues using a ground-based laser, scientists could calculate the methane emission for the whole basin.

The team determined that methane emissions from the oil and natural gas fields in Uintah County totaled about 55,000 kg (more than 120,000 lbs) an hour on the day of the flight. That emission rate is about 6 to 12 percent of the average hourly natural gas production in Uintah County during the month of February.
- See more at: http://cires.colorado.edu/...

Oil and gas industry figures for methane release are much lower. However, when wells are developed and produced by hydraulic fracturing, a large amount of gas is released in the process. A basin where fracking is ongoing may be releasing extremely high amounts of gas to the atmosphere.

Ozone pollution in this desolate part of Utah is already about twice the federal limit of 75 parts per billion on a bad day. The oil and gas industry's plans to add 25,000 more wells to the 10,000 wells producing today may run into regulatory compliance problems with air quality standards.

This winter, with the University of Utah also helping out, scientific SWAT teams have already gone out again as part of a more limited study of the basin to watch the pollution chemistry in action. Ozone exceeding the health-based standards rose to around 130 parts per billion, or not quite double EPA’s health-based standard of 75 ppb, said Brock LeBaron, deputy director of the Utah Division of Air Quality and leader of the study team.

Federal regulators have told Utah Gov. Gary Herbert that Uintah and Duchesne counties are dangerously close to being declared out of compliance with federal Clean Air Act limits on ozone.

Meanwhile, the oil and gas boom continues, with another 25,000 wells potentially being added to 10,000 already in operation in the basin.

Assertions that natural gas from fracking has a lower greenhouse gas impact than conventional sweet crude are just not true. Atmospheric scientists will continue to investigate the complexities of release of natural gasses from gas wells developed by hydraulic fracturing, but it is now clear that industry estimates of gas emissions are far below realistic values. The EPA is also using gas emissions values that are far below the levels measured by the NOAA CIRES research team.
"Most days we measured concentrations far greater than what we reported in the paper," Sweeney said. The new study was not designed to determine points of leakage.

There are plenty of potential leak sources, such as wells, processing plants, compressors and pipelines.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that, on average nationally, just 0.8 percent to 1.6 percent of natural gas production escapes. Federal officials encourage use of natural gas because burning it emits less carbon dioxide — the leading greenhouse gas linked to climate change — than oil or coal.

Methane, the main component of natural gas, packs a greenhouse punch 25 times greater than carbon dioxide. That means leakage rates exceeding 3.2 percent offset natural gas’ advantage in the short term, Sweeney said.

Natural gas has been advertised as the bridge to a green future of renewable power and a stable climate. Fracking, on the other hand, uses enormous amounts of precious fresh water and releases massive amounts of the powerful greenhouse gas methane to the atmosphere. The EPA and the President have good intentions when they encourage increased gas production, but the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. The massive methane emissions discovered by this study are the road to climate Hell.

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

I miss Kauai edition.

Help Us Spread the Word About Climate Change

For those of you on Facebook and Twitter: Please help to spread the word by hitting the FB and Tweet links at the top of this diary and if you have time, join the discussion with comments.  Share such postings with friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances.

Thanks, as all of this helps build the Climate Change movement as well as introducing critically important ideas about renewable sources of energy.

Please use hashtags #climate, #eco, and #climatechange to tweet all diaries about the environment.

"Green Diary Rescue" is Back!

After a hiatus of over 1 1/2 years, Meteor Blades has revived his excellent series.  As MB explained, this weekly diary is a "round-up with excerpts and links... of the hard work so many Kossacks put into bringing matters of environmental concern to the community... I'll be starting out with some commentary of my own on an issue related to the environment, a word I take in its broadest meaning."

"Green Diary Rescue" will be posted every Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page.  Be sure to recommend and comment in the diary.  

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Climate Change SOS on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 06:44 PM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots.

Your Email has been sent.