Imagine you’re a wheat farmer in the Texas Panhandle. Last summer, you harvested a bumper crop. When the combines left, you baled the straw into round half-ton rolls and stacked them on the edge of your field.
And then you set them on fire.
No farmer would do such a thing, but that’s a pretty accurate representation of flaring, a common method of disposing of natural-gas byproduct at oil wells. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Texas producers wasted 700 million cubic feet of natural gas every day in 2019. That’s enough to provide natural gas to every home in the state.