Source: http://www.ibtimes.com, December 23, 2013
By: David Kashi
Even though hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, uses millions of gallons of water to blast shale rock to release trapped gas, the controversial technique actually saves water, according to a recent study by the University of Texas.
The study claims that the Lone Star State is less vulnerable to drought because of its transition from coal to natural gas as the main fuel source used to generate electricity.
“Natural gas also enhances drought resilience by providing so-called peaking plants to complement increasing wind generation, which doesn’t consume water,” the study said.
Thanks to fracking, Texas is now extracting more oil and gas than ever. The state’s production could surpass that of Kuwait, UAE, Iraq, Iran and even Canada by the end of next year. The drilling technique has been heavily criticized, as some environmentalists contend fracking contaminates and wastes groundwater.
“The bottom line is that hydraulic fracturing, by boosting natural gas production and moving the state from water-intensive coal technologies, makes our electric power system more drought-resilient,” Bridget Scanlon, senior research scientist at the university’s Bureau of Economic Geology, who led the study, said.
While the study asserts that fracking accounts for less than 1 percent of the water consumed in Texas, it also acknowledged that it strains local water supplies in areas where the technique is heavily concentrated.…
Source: AFP World News, January 6, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com
Air pollution in Tehran has left 4,460 people dead in a year, an Iranian health official said in reports Sunday, with another sounding the alarm over high dose of carcinogens in domestically-made petrol.
Hassan Aqajani, an adviser to the health minister, made the announcement on state television, and said the Tehran residents died in a year-long period since March 2011.
High air pollution is a constant woe for the eight million residents in Tehran. It forced the city’s closure on Saturday, the second time in a month.
“In recent days, the number of patients who have visited Tehran hospitals with heart problems has increased by 30 percent,” Aqajani said.
Tehran’s pollution is mainly blamed on bumper-to-bumper traffic in a city wedged between two mountains which trap fumes. But major Iranian cities also struggle with pollution on a seasonal basis.
Pollution is also exacerbated by increasing reliance on domestic production of petrol of a lower grade, and therefore more polluting, a byproduct of Western sanctions on Iran’s fuel imports.
Youssef Rashidi, director of Tehran’s air quality monitoring services, on Sunday warned carcinogens in Iranian-made petrol is higher than international standards.
“Based on Euro 4 standard the amount of carcinogens in petrol should be less than one percent but the level of our domestically-produced petrol is between two and three percent,” Rashidi said in remarks reported by Bahar daily.
The level of sulfur in the petrol is three times higher than the standard, he said.
Iran produces around 60 million litres of petrol on a daily basis, corresponding roughly to its national consumption, according to figures from the oil ministry.
Officials have promised to increase the production of higher grade petrol with Euro 4 and 5 standards, used in European countries, from nine million litres per day to around 25 million by March 2013.