Pennsylvania Cracks Down on Natural Gas Air Pollution
Action paves way for Governor Wolf to implement methane regulations at existing oil and gas sites
(HARRISBURG, PA – Jun. 7, 2018) Cleaning up natural gas pollution in Pennsylvania advanced one step further today, with Governor Tom Wolf finalizing new requirements that limit methane pollution from new and modified unconventional natural gas infrastructure. The requirements are a key component of Gov. Wolf’s methane reduction plan, and place Pennsylvania among other leading states that are tackling pollution that directly affects communities near oil and gas facilities.
“Pennsylvanians can breathe easier once these methane safeguards are in place,” said Fred Krupp, EDF President. “This progress toward cleaner air must continue with concrete steps to reduce pollution from the hundreds of thousands of existing oil and gas facilities across the state.”
Emissions of methane – essentially natural gas itself – waste a valuable energy resource as they pollute the atmosphere and warm the climate. Second only to Texas in natural gas production, Pennsylvania is a major methane emitter, but with Gov. Wolf finalizing these new requirements, he is positioning Pennsylvania to be a leader when it comes to managing those emissions.
“With millions of Pennsylvanians affected by oil and gas pollution, Gov. Wolf is taking the right step by standing up to protect residents of the commonwealth,” said Andrew Williams, Director of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs for EDF. “Gov. Wolf should be commended for listening to his constituents and taking effective and responsible action to rein in the environmental and public health impacts of oil and gas development.”
The governor has committed to reduce methane emissions further by addressing the thousands of existing sources of oil and gas methane pollution, which will continue to make up the bulk of Pennsylvania’s methane problem over the next decade. According to a recent EDF analysis, these oil and gas facilities emit approximately 520,000 tons of methane every year – five times more than what companies report to the state.
Cost-effective technologies already exist to control methane emissions – another recent analysis by the International Energy Agency found operators can cut 40 to 50 percent of emissions at no net cost. Tackling the state’s methane emissions will ultimately make Pennsylvania more competitive, healthier and a leader by applying reasonable and responsible oil and gas controls.
# # #
Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships.