This presentation focuses on air quality impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing. Data and modeling on emissions and impacts of photochemically active air pollutants, toxic air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions are described. Hydraulic fracturing of shale formations (shale gas) is projected by the Energy Information Administration to become the dominant source of domestic natural gas supply over the next several decades, potentially transforming the nation’s energy landscape. However, the environmental impacts associated with ‘‘fracking’’ for shale gas have made it controversial in some communities.
In addition to addressing the direct atmospheric impacts of expanded natural gas production, indirect effects are also described. Widespread availability of shale gas, and limited capacities for transporting shale gas to global markets, can drive down natural gas prices, which in turn, can impact the use of natural gas in electricity generation. Natural gas production in Texas and the Texas grid will be used as a case study for examining these indirect consequences of expanded natural gas availability.