Drillers Resort to Old Tricks

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By: Joe Minott, Clean Air Council Executive Director

What happens when an industry with deep pockets wants to avoid public scrutiny of their operations? If you’re Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry, you ask your friends in the legislature to sneak language into the fiscal code that prevents the Department of Environmental Protection from establishing new rules to protect public health and safety. No reason to play fair when you’ve got friends in high places.

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July 02, 2015

Too Much Methane in the Air

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By: Joe Minott, Clean Air Council Executive Director

Methane is a potent global warming pollutant, and more methane is leaking into the air because of natural gas drilling than previously known. That’s what the latest study by researchers at Drexel University has found. The researchers used special mobile air quality monitoring vehicles to measure air pollution at 13 sites across the Marcellus Shale. The team reported increases in emissions that affect air quality around drilling sites and, in particular, methane emissions that were higher than those reported in previous studies. 

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May 26, 2015

Pennsylvania's Poor Exposed to the Worst Effects of Gas Drilling

By: Joe Minott, Clean Air Council Executive Director

Former Governor Tom Corbett once called fracking “extremely important” to Pennsylvania’s economy, arguing that the “Marcellus has reached into some very old corners of our economy and our state and brought them back to life.” A new study shows that this optimistic view completely overlooks the fact that drilling is actually making life worse for vulnerable populations in those very old corners of the state. 

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May 15, 2015

A New Ally in the Climate and Clean Air Fight

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By: Joe Minott, Clean Air Council Executive Director

Sister Betty Kane has been fighting for clean energy and climate legislation for many years. Now she and the other Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia have a new ally lending support to their cause – none other than Pope Francis, himself.

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May 13, 2015

Methane Headlines Across PA

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By: Joe Minott, Clean Air Council Executive Director

There is more methane in the air than usual today, thanks to opinion pieces by clean air advocates published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Scranton Times-Tribune! 

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May 06, 2015

“State of the Air” Shows Room for Improvement

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By: Joe Minott, Clean Air Council Executive Director

The American Lung Association published State of the Air 2015 yesterday, showing mixed progress in improving the nation’s air quality. The annual report shows that, thanks to the Clean Air Act, many communities across Pennsylvania have better air quality today than they have in years past. For example, both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh recorded their lowest levels of year-round particle pollution since the report began, though both cities still failed to meet the national air quality standard.

While more needs to be done to reduce pollution in and around those two metropolitan areas, we’re moving in the right direction because of deliberate measures that fight dangerous particle pollution. The Clean Air Act works.

Unfortunately, the parts of our state where shale gas drilling has exploded in recent years received less encouraging news.

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April 30, 2015

Speak Your Mind About Drilling

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By: Joe Minott, Clean Air Council Executive Director

Last month, the natural gas industry’s trade association argued that the public interest has no business being involved in oil and gas rulemaking. As long as the public needs to breathe the air in Pennsylvania, we disagree!

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April 28, 2015

The Public’s Interest in Chapter 78

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By: Joe Minott, Clean Air Council Executive Director

Amy Nassif did not plan to become an activist. She was - as she puts it - a working Pennsylvania mom who “turned Mama Bear” after learning that hydraulic fracturing operations were dangerously close to her daughters’ school.

Amy and the Butler County Mars Parent Group have been researching unconventional gas drilling since March 2014, when a six well drilling site was proposed for an area just one half mile from the school Amy’s daughters attend every day. The group compiled peer reviewed data from experts at the Harvard Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “just to name a few.”

The data were clear: unconventional well sites create immediate “harmful health and safety impacts” within a two-mile radius of drilling.

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April 23, 2015

By The Numbers: Gas Industry Air Pollution Is Up

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By: Joe Minott, Clean Air Council Executive Director

Yesterday, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection released its latest report on air pollution generated by the gas industry. For anyone paying attention, the numbers come as no surprise – an increase in drilling activity means an increase in air pollution. Among other things, the data say loud and clear that we need new rules to get a grip on air pollution the natural gas industry including sulfur dioxide, VOCs and methane pollution.

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April 21, 2015


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