Life around New Mexico’s gas wells: how fracking is turning the air foul

By Jeffrey Barbee/AllianceEarth

“My daughter has asthma. She is not the only one around here, something is wrong here, our air quality shouldn’t be this way.”

Shirley “Sug” McNall is leaning up against a fence staring at a natural gas well about 40 meters from a playground behind the primary school where her daughter used to teach in Aztec, New Mexico. She believes that the gas industry and the explosion of fracking in her state is responsible for serious impacts on local air quality which are affecting people’s health.

Her fears were boosted last year when Nasa satellites identified a methane bubble over Aztec visible from space. The bubble suggests that during drilling and production the natural gas industry is not capturing all of the gas they unlock from deep in the ground and significant amounts of this methane and other chemicals are leaking into the sky. McNall believes that other more dangerous gasses are being released too.

Have a look at the unpublished images below and read the rest of the story on the Guardian’s website:

A composite image shows the VOC gases being vented off of a well in Aztec New Mexico using the FLIR (Forward Looking Infra Red) camera.  The same tank in zoom shows how close it is to people's houses.  The FLIR camera was operated by a certified FLIR videographer and is supported by Earthwork's Citizen Empowerment Project.
A composite image shows the VOC gases being vented off of a well in Aztec New Mexico using the FLIR (Forward Looking Infra Red) camera. The same tank in zoom shows how close it is to people’s houses. The FLIR camera was operated by a certified FLIR videographer and is supported by Earthwork’s Citizen Empowerment Project.

 

 

 

Plumes of unburnt gases roil out of a burner above a gas plant in Northern New Mexico.  The unburnt volatile organic compounds are collecting in the air and poisoning communities, say researchers.  Hydraulic fracturing has created America's energy boom, but it has also created major environmental problems that are only now being fully researched and understood. Throughout the country "fracking" has local communities up in arms over highly dangerous airborn pollutants, and reasearchers from NASA, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Assosciation (NOAA) and the University of Colorado are confirming that massive amounts of Methane and other Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are being released at levels between 2 and 5 times higher than Environmental Protection Agency estimates.

A secondary school near a gas processing facility near Bloomfield New Mexico has had very high instances of asthma.  Local communities blame the gas business.  Hydraulic fracturing has created America's energy boom, but it has also created major environmental problems that are only now being fully researched and understood. Throughout the country "fracking" has local communities up in arms over highly dangerous airborn pollutants, and reasearchers from NASA, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Assosciation (NOAA) and the University of Colorado are confirming that massive amounts of Methane and other Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are being released at levels between 2 and 5 times higher than Environmental Protection Agency estimates.
A secondary school near a gas processing facility near Bloomfield New Mexico has had very high instances of asthma. Local communities blame the gas business.
At a fracturing waste processing site near Aztec New Mexico a sign warns of Hydrogen Sulfide Gas, which can cause immediate death if inhaled.  Hydraulic fracturing has created America's energy boom, but it has also created major environmental problems that are only now being fully researched and understood. Throughout the country "fracking" has local communities up in arms over highly dangerous airborn pollutants, and reasearchers from NASA, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Assosciation (NOAA) and the University of Colorado are confirming that massive amounts of Methane and other Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are being released at levels between 2 and 5 times higher than Environmental Protection Agency estimates.
At a fracturing waste processing site near Aztec New Mexico a sign warns of Hydrogen Sulfide Gas, which can cause immediate death if inhaled.

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