State regulators dispute report linking oil and gas emissions to asthma

FORT WORTH - State regulators say emissions from oil and gas operations are not a major contributor to air pollution in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, calling into question a recent environmental report linking methane leaks to an anticipated rise in asthma attacks.

A recent study released by Earthworks and the Clean Air Task Force claimed that unless methane releases from oil and gas operations are reduced by 2025, nearly 145,000 asthma attacks in children and more than 283,000 incidences of adults struggling to breathe would be triggered.

But Texas Commission on Environmental Quality data shows that operations associated with the energy industry in Fort Worth and Dallas contribute 1.8 parts per billion to ozone levels on the worst days, from May to September, while planes, trains and automobiles contribute 14.1 parts per billion. Those measurements also were taken during the peak times of the ozone season, agency officials said.

David Brymer, the agency’s director of air quality, voiced doubts about how Earthworks and the Clean Air Task Force used its computer models to produce the information and then how they analyzed that data. Brymer cautioned that they have insufficient information to entirely evaluate the environmental report.

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