June 7, 2018

 

Contact: Josh Raulerson – 412.481.9400 / jraulerson@pecpa.org

 

Pennsylvania Takes Important Step Forward on Methane

Pennsylvania joins other states in addressing air emissions from natural gas operations

 

(PITTSBURGH, PA – June 7, 2018). Today Pennsylvania Governor Wolf and Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell announced the finalization of new air quality permitting requirements designed to improve monitoring and reduce emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from unconventional natural gas operations in Pennsylvania.

“Today’s announcement brings Pennsylvania in line with what other states, with the support of industry, have already proven: that our economy and environment are best served by adoption of high standards for energy development,” said John Walliser, Senior Vice President for Legal and Government Affairs.

The revised GP-5 and GP-5A permits for new and modified facilities and operations represent an important first step toward implementation of Governor Wolf’s 2016 Methane Reduction Strategy, which recognizes the expanding role that natural gas has in Pennsylvania’s energy transformation. While natural gas combustion produces fewer carbon dioxide emissions than coal, those benefits are potentially negated by uncontrolled emissions of methane from both production and in the supply chain. It is critical that Pennsylvania, as the nation’s second-largest producer of natural gas,  has high standards.

“With these controls in place, we must now focus on an even bigger issue: emissions of methane from existing sources” said Walliser. “We look forward to continuing our work with other stakeholders committed to advancing leading energy development and environmental protection standards.”

Guided by sound regulatory policy, the industry is already well positioned to realize significant improvements in this area. A report by the International Energy Agency determined that it is possible to avoid a majority of methane emissions at little or no additional net cost – meaning  that businesses, consumers, and the environment all benefit. Further underscoring the practicality of these goals, the Natural Gas Supply Collaborative – a voluntary effort by multiple large natural gas purchasers to advance safe and responsible practices for natural gas supplies – has identified detecting and reducing methane emissions as its foremost environmental performance indicator.

Today’s announcement brings Pennsylvania in line with other leading states and industry players who recognize that effective methane controls are a win for business, consumers, and the environment.

 

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About the Pennsylvania Environmental Council

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council is a statewide organization that brings people, government, and business together to find real world solutions for environmental challenges. These solutions bring about sustainable communities, protect our water resources, and address energy and climate issues. PEC was founded in 1970 and serves the entire state through offices in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Luzerne, and State College.