May 2016, Vol. 243, No. 5

Web Exclusive

Bakken Formation the Source of Global Uptick in Air Pollution

WASHINGTON (AP) — An oil and natural gas field in the western United States is largely responsible for a global uptick of the air pollutant ethane, according to a new study. The team led by researchers at the University of Michigan found that fossil fuel production at the Bakken Formation in North Dakota and Montana is emitting roughly 2 percent of the ethane detected in the Earth’s atmosphere. Along with its chemical cousin methane, ethane is a hydrocarbon that is a significant component of natural gas. Once in the atmosphere, ethane reacts with sunlight to form ozone, which can trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory problems, especially in children and the elderly. Ethane pol

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