Flaring and venting from oil and gas operations lead to more than 710 premature deaths in the U.S. each year, a new study finds. The research, published in Geohealth, also found the practices lead to more than 73,000 asthma exacerbations and cost Americans approximately $7.4 billion annually. Flaring is the practice of burning off excess methane gas, often during oil drilling operations, while venting is the release of methane and the other chemicals that make up so-called “natural” gas directly into the atmosphere. “We know that PM2.5 is bad for health, we know that ozone is bad for health,” Erin Polka, a doctoral student at Boston University and one of the study’s authors, told ICN. “But to see the amount of asthma exacerbations that were attributed to nitrogen dioxide, I think that was surprising to us.” (Inside Climate News)