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  • Gas giant OG&E still tops list of green house gas emitters

    Gas giant OG&E still tops list of green house gas emitters

    According to the most recent emissions reports from the US Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E), released more than 16.7 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere during 2015.

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    While OG&E’s green house gas emissions are lower today compared to previous years, the extraction of so-called cleaner burning “bridge fuels,” such as natural gas, are produced using controversial methods such as hydraulic fracturing.

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    While power plant emissions were evidently on the decline, a Harvard University study published March 2016 found that, following the boom in fracked oil and gas production, fugitive methane emissions in the United States actually increased by more than 30% during the 2002-2014 period. The authors of the study suggest the increase in methane emissions was likely due to fracking and the increased development of unconventional oil and natural gas reserves.

    According to EPA reports from 2012, OG&E facilities released 21.5 million metric tons of green house gasses from its power generating facilities. That’s 5 million metric tons more than they released in 2015.

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    While the industry touts such emissions reductions as an overall improvement, environmental researchers note that newer production methods, such as hydraulic fracturing, are negatively offsetting the impacts of the lowered emissions. Higher levels of more potent greenhouse gasses like methane are now being released during the production and processing phases.

    Other top emitters in Oklahoma include an Oologah-based coal-fired power plant operated by American Electric Power. In 2015, AEP had reduced their green house gas emissions by 95,000 metric tons. However, that figure only amounts to a 1.3 percent reduction over the 2012 levels.

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