Blowback from the Shale Boom

Because of cheaper fuel prices driven by the shale drilling boom, U.S. companies in 2014 received draft or final permits to build at least 46 new or expanded petrochemical facilities across the U.S. that will produce 55 million tons of greenhouse gases a year, according to the Environmental Integrity Project report, “Blowback from the Shale Boom.” That’s the equivalent of 12 new coal-fired power plants (500 megawatt) operating at full capacity.

These major construction projects include large mid-stream compressors, plants that process gas or shale oil into fuel or feedstock, and chemical and fertilizer manufacturers.  Projects launched within these sectors over the past three years will increase greenhouse gas emissions by more than 130 million tons annually, based on estimates in 105 draft or final permits and 15 applications still pending.  That is equivalent to the global warming output of 28 new coal burning power plants.