Pennsylvania Moves Forward with Methane Regulations Despite Trump Rollbacks

September 17, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – As the federal government continues its irresponsible rollback of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Governor Tom Wolf is committed to protecting Pennsylvanians from the long-term effect of unfettered methane releases by putting in place strong rules that will prevent methane leaks in Pennsylvania’s natural gas sector.

“We’re already seeing the results of climate change in Pennsylvania – increased severe weather, oppressively hot summers and record-setting temperatures,” said Gov. Wolf. “While the White House continues to do everything in its power to pull back environmental regulations, I am fighting for policies that move Pennsylvania forward in addressing climate change and protecting our shared environment.”

Last year, Gov. Wolf moved forward with a Methane Reduction Strategy, including finalizing some of the first permits in the nation to set a threshold on methane emissions from new unconventional gas wells and other infrastructure, and proposing new regulations to reduce methane emissions from existing wells and infrastructure. The permits set thresholds on various types of air pollution, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Operators will be required to meet federal new source standards and state Best Available Technology (BAT) included in the permit conditions for equipment and processes to control pollution emissions. The permits assist businesses by helping them control methane emissions that cost them money while supporting a clean environment for all Pennsylvanians.

“We are moving forward on many fronts to tackle climate change and reduce our emissions footprint and expect to have the rule proposed at the Environmental Quality Board before the end of the year,” said Gov. Wolf. “While these commonsense requirements have already been adopted by many leading natural gas companies, the new regulation of existing sources will ensure that all companies operating in the commonwealth take responsibility for preventing methane leaks and reducing emissions.”

Gov. Wolf’s commitment comes as the federal government is removing requirements for oil and gas companies to monitor and fix emission leaks from pipelines, wells, and other equipment. Methane has been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the second-most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the United States from human activities, and a quarter of methane is produced by the natural gas and oil industries. Reducing methane emissions leaks is an essential step in addressing global greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of climate change.

More information about Gov. Wolf’s Methane Reduction Strategy can be found on the Department of Environmental Protection’s website.

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