Legislators urge Gov. Wolf to act on methane gas emissions

HARRISBURG, Sept. 20 – A bipartisan group of over 30 Pennsylvania state House members sent a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf today urging him to take immediate action on regulations which would reduce methane leakage from natural gas wells in Pennsylvania.

The regulations which were part of a methane reduction strategy Wolf announced in January 2016 would apply to the approximately 11,000 unconventional wells drilled in Pennsylvania since 2004. These regulations are already more than two years behind schedule according to Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery, who coordinated the joint letter. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and is responsible for approximately 25 percent of current global warming.

“Methane is the second-most prevalent greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide,” Vitali said. “As the second-largest natural gas producing state, Pennsylvania’s methane emissions have a significant impact on global climate change. Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is leaking from these wells and into the atmosphere at well pads, storage tanks, compressor stations, processing facilities, and along pipelines. The Wolf administration must demonstrate a sense of urgency by devoting enough staff and modifying these rules to regulate methane directly in order to quickly present them to the Environmental Quality Board for consideration. It’s time that we considered our environment a top priority.”

“Our communities are counting on us to ensure that we meet the commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions,” said Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester. “Now is the time for Pennsylvania to stand as a leader. It is imperative that we act now. Our children are our future and we need to do all we can to protect them from the dangerous impacts of climate change.”

The request asks the Wolf administration to bring the proposed VOC-Methane emissions regulations before the EQB as soon as possible, but no later than the board’s Nov. 19 meeting.