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National clean air protections are in jeopardy of going away, but Pennsylvania can be protected

Source: Bob Donaldson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently announced plans to control harmful smog-forming emissions from the state’s existing oil and gas sites. There’s just one problem: their plan is based on national clean air guidelines that are now under attack by President Trump’s EPA. However, by changing this plan, and creating strong state-led policies, Governor Wolf can ensure Pennsylvania remains in control of its own clean air protections.

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Massive Pennsylvania gas leak proves industry requires more oversight

Yet again, another energy company is serving up tangible proof that some in the industry fail to take steps to operate responsibly and protect public health from oil and gas pollution.

According to a September 24 Associated Press article, a malfunction at a natural gas compressor station in Northeastern Pennsylvania resulted in a massive gas leak that — in just a few hours — produced more air pollution than most facilities emit in an entire year.

Most Pennsylvanians never know about these types of malfunctions. In fact, if it were not for the AP story, you might not have heard about this leak in part because DTE Energy – the out-of-state energy company that owns the facility – failed to immediately notify the Susquehanna County Emergency Management Agency. Instead, they waited over a week to report the problem to the county and downplayed the magnitude of the episode, referring to it as a merely a “minor” leak. Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Methane, Natural Gas, Pennsylvania / Comments are closed

Lawmakers take note: Pennsylvania’s methane emissions are way up

The one fact that Pennsylvania lawmakers need to hear is this: Natural gas waste is up 28%.

And yet, the state senate held a hearing yesterday to discuss the impacts of natural gas development in the state, and not one environmental expert was on tap to speak. Consequently, senate leaders don’t have the full picture.

Here’s what state legislators need to know.

Industry-reported data made available this week by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection indicate that in the year ended 2015, emissions of methane – the main component of natural gas – were up over 28% although production grew by only 12%.

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Ohio pipeline spill underscores the need for strong regulation and oversight

Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the same company responsible for the Dakota Access Pipeline, just spilled millions of gallons of drilling sludge into an Ohio wetland – but don’t worry, they say everything is “safe.”

Craig Butler, Director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency called the company’s response “dismissive,” and “exceptionally disappointing,” and he’s right.

Fortunately, federal and state regulators have stepped up to hold ETP accountable.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered ETP to halt plans to continue with other pipeline drilling projects in the area and to double the number of environmental inspectors on its payroll.  And the Ohio EPA fined ETP $400,000 for the damage caused by this spill, damage that OEPA says could be deadly and last for decades. Read More »

Posted in General, Methane, Natural Gas / Tagged | Comments are closed

Five Reasons Pennsylvania is Taking Action on Methane

PAteaserPennsylvania is the nation’s second largest producer of natural gas, yet the state’s gas industry is guilty of leaking massive quantities of methane – essentially the gas itself – into the atmosphere. Fortunately, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection is taking steps to ensure Pennsylvania is leading on energy, not on air pollution. Here are five reasons why state leaders are moving forward to address invisible, yet harmful, methane emissions. Read More »

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Why Pennsylvania is moving forward to reduce methane pollution

Oil and gas methane emissions in Pennsylvania. Image source: Environmental Protection Agency

Oil and gas methane emissions in Pennsylvania. Image source: Environmental Protection Agency

Recently the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) took  an important first step to implement new requirements aimed at reducing methane emissions from new oil and gas operations.

Methane is the main component of natural gas – 51% of Pennsylvania households depend on it to fuel their homes. The more methane is wasted, the less there is to deliver to the PA communities that depend on it. Read More »

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