API and ANGA released a study today calling into serious question the methane emissions data EPA has been using for unconventional gas wells. According to the API/ANGA survey, methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing of unconventional gas wells are, in fact, 50 percent lower than EPA’s estimates.

When is EPA going to correct this flaw? Today’s study is not even the first time EPA’s hydraulic fracturing emissions data has been contradicted by real-world evidence. The agency has been sitting on an open Request for Correction under the Information Quality Act (IQA) since December 19, 2011.

That request (filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, available here) included a survey by URS Corp. of approximately 1200 wells, showing that actual gas emissions from the completion of unconventional shale gas wells were more than 1200% lower than EPA’s gas emission estimate.

A coalition of environmental groups filed a detailed opposition to the IQA correction request, complaining that URS had relied on too small a sample. Well, today’s API/ANGA survey (also conducted by URS) is of 91,000 wells. That should be more than enough.

Here’s why this matters: researchers, financial analysts and other governmental bodies are relying on EPA’s flawed estimates of natural gas emissions from unconventional shale gas well completions in a number of research reports and policy consideration. And policymakers are ultimately taking into account these potentially flawed numbers when designing regulations.

Read the API/ANGA study here.

Ross Eisenberg is vice president of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

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