Gov. Wolf and DEP Need to Expand Scope of Methane Rule to Live Up to Climate Commitments

Statement from Andrew Williams, Director of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs

April 11, 2019
Elaine Labalme, (412) 996-4112,

(HARRISBURG, Pa.) Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) discussed its revised draft rule to address air emissions from existing unconventional natural gas operations at the Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee Meeting (AQTAC). Unfortunately, the proposed rule, if not fixed, will be the least protective methane rule in the country. Pennsylvania is the second largest natural gas producing state in the nation.

The rule as currently drafted would capture only 21 percent of methane emissions. A 2018 report by Environmental Defense Fund estimated that emissions of methane, a potent climate forcing agent, from Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry are up to five times higher than what is reported to DEP, or potentially 520,000 tons per year. DEP’s current draft focuses almost entirely on volatile organic compounds (VOCs), not methane.

“The scope of DEP’s air emissions rule needs to be expanded – capturing only 21 percent of methane emissions leaves far too much pollution on the table and in our air. Simply removing the threshold for low-producing wells will allow for much more methane capture. DEP has got to get this right if Pennsylvania is to meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change as directed by Gov. Wolf in his executive order earlier this year.”

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