So. Rep. Chris Stewart wants the Environmental Protection Agency to disgorge tons of data it has used to arrive at stricter air quality standards. His House Science Committee is threatening to issue a subpoena if the agency doesn't come across soon.
While he is waiting for that to be fought out in Congress and, perhaps, in the courts, the Utah Republican might slake some of his commendable curiosity by reading over another study. The one that finds that significant portions of the natural gas that being mined from Utah's Uinta Basin is leaking into the atmosphere and adding to the serious air quality problems suffered in that area.
Research carried out jointly by the University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has found that the process of extracting large amounts of natural gas in the area is apparently sloppy enough that as much as 12 percent of it is getting away. That's a lot more than had been thought, well above the industry average of less than 2 percent, and enough to help explain why an area that is not home to snarls of traffic or rows of smokestacks often falls victim to such high levels of air pollution.