Permitting program with best management practices for shale gas wells to safeguard public health

The development of shale gas resources in the United States has been controversial as governments have been tardy in devising sufficient safeguards to protect both people and the environment. Alleged health and environmental damages suggest that other countries around the world that decide to develop their shale gas resources can learn from these problems and take further actions to prevent situations resulting in the release of harmful pollutants. Looking at U.S. federal regulations governing large animal operations under the permitting provisions of the Clean Water Act, the idea of a permitting program is proposed to respond to the risks of pollution by shale gas development activities. Governments can require permits before allowing the drilling of a new gas well. Each permit would include fluids and air emissions reduction plans containing best management practices to minimise risks and releases of pollutants. The public availability of permits and permit applications, as occurs for water pollution under various U.S. permitting programs, would assist governments in protecting public health. The permitting proposals provide governments a means for providing further assurances that shale gas development projects will not adversely affect people and the environment.

Authors: Centner TJ, Petetin L. ;Full Source: Journal of Environmental Management. 2015 Aug 28;163:174-183. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2015.08.019.[Epub ahead of print] ;