There are a range of measures that can be taken to reduce air pollution from shale development. The EPA’s Natural Gas STAR program, a voluntary program that partners with industry, offers an extensive list of recommended technologies and practices for reducing methane and VOC emissions.
Options for reducing air emissions include:
- transitioning from diesel-powered equipment to natural gas- or solar-powered or reduced-emission engines and motors (some companies are using gas produced at the site to fuel equipment engines, thus reducing the use of diesel fuel)
- constructing pads and roads of gravel, or applying water or other dust suppressants to them
- instituting carpooling and busing programs to transport workers, thereby reducing the number of vehicles accessing the site (see Box 4. Case Study from the Mining Industry: The Good Neighbor Agreement)
- establishing driver training and incentive programs to ensure local speed limits are obeyed (also relevant to safety; see Box 9. Case Study: Driver Safety)
- establishing a community-based participatory monitoring program, in which trained and experienced volunteers conduct air sampling in the surrounding area to monitor for chemical constituents that could pose a health risk
In order to ascertain the amount of air emissions that might be coming from the site, it is important to conduct monitoring activities before, during, and after drilling takes place.