Pennsylvania makes progress on methane, next steps are critical

November 30, 2017
Kelsey Robinson, (512) 691-3404,

(Harrisburg, Pa. -  Nov. 30, 2017) – In an important and positive step for public health and the environment, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced plans to finalize new permits that require natural gas companies to reduce methane and other harmful pollutants from new facilities and equipment.

Pennsylvania is the nation’s second largest gas producing state. Recent research shows operators are emitting large amounts of methane – the primary component of natural gas and a powerful climate pollutant - from facilities around the state. Pennsylvanians are rightly concerned about the excessive waste of an important domestic energy resource as well as the climate and health impacts of industry’s emissions.

DEP’s new general permits, once implemented, will help control the industry’s methane emissions by requiring that all operators regularly check for and fix leaks at new unconventional gas wells, transmission stations and gas pipelines. These requirements are a critical piece of the administration’s methane reduction strategy, which aims to limit methane emitted at both active and newly built oil and gas facilities.

“By addressing methane pollution from new natural gas facilities, Governor Wolf is demonstrating real leadership in mitigating the environmental and health impacts of drilling. There is much more work to be done, including finalizing these permit requirements and moving quickly to address pollution from the tens of thousands of existing oil and gas facilities in Pennsylvania. But today is a big step in the right direction," said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund. “Pennsylvanians want and expect basic safeguards from the pollution from drilling happening around them – today’s action will help deliver the clean air protections all Pennsylvanians deserve.”

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