Pittsburgh-area activists demand Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf keep campaign promise to protect water and air quality

Pittsburgh City Paper

By Rebecca Addison

August 23, 2017

The end-of-summer, back-to-school season can be hectic for a lot of parents struggling to buy their children new backpacks, clothes and school supplies. But for parents like Patrice Tomcik, a field organizer with Mom’s Clean Air Force, there are additional worries as well.

"Every day I send my kids off to school, I'm exposing them to health and safety risks from the harmful pollution like methane and benzine from the oil and gas industry," said Tomcik, whose home and local school are in close proximity to natural-gas fracking operations and a compressor station. "I know that there are many other families and communities in Pennsylvania like mine who are being impacted by the natural-gas-industry pollution, and they need protection."

Tomcik was one of a dozen activists at a rally outside Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's office in Downtown Pittsburgh earlier today. There, the group called on Wolf to make good on campaign promises to control methane emissions from new oil and gas operations. 

Read enough? Click here to take action to #CutMethane.

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Budget proposal impacts public health

Daily American

By - Joseph Otis Minott - Opinion

August 8, 2017


Pennsylvania legislators want to balance the state budget on the backs of public health and the environment. 

The Senate recently passed a revenue package designed to balance the state budget and the bills now await action in the House. Hidden among them are drastic provisions that would greatly harm protection of public health and the environment.

Balancing the budget by sanctioning increased pollution and eliminating protections for public health and the environment is not only bad public policy, it’s immoral. Sneaking this kind of language into a revenue package behind closed doors, away from public view, and without public notice and input directly undermines democratic norms of transparency and shows lawmakers want to skirt accountability for their actions.

Read enough? Click here to take action to #CutMethane.


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Study: Shale drilling spreads invasive plants in Pa. forests


By Nick Malawskey

July 21, 2017

While the Marcellus Shale formation has provided a boom for Pennsylvania's economy, it has also provided a boom to another group -- invasive plants.

Researchers at Penn State University on Thursday published a study which looks at the relationship between invasive plants and drilling in the Marcellus Shale region. Their findings: That 61 percent of the well pads studied had at least one invasive non-native plant species present, and that non-native plant cover was greater around well pads than in the surrounding environment.

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Here's a conservative argument for containing methane emissions: David Jenkins

Harrisburg Patriot News

By David Jenkins - Opinion

July 1, 2017

One thing that Pennsylvanians of any political stripe should agree on is that waste is a bad thing. Whether we are talking about money, time, or energy, the prudent--and conservative--approach is always to minimize waste.

This is why Gov. Tom Wolf and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) were right to launch a concerted strategy last year to reduce natural gas waste and the resulting methane emissions.

The plan will help reduce leaks and emissions from natural gas well sites, processing facilities, compressor stations and along pipelines.

These leaks harm public health as they waste a valuable natural resource and release pollutants into our air.

If successful, Wolf's plan would show that Pennsylvania is a truly a leader in waste reduction by implementing responsible oil and gas practices. 

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Methane emission issues worsen

Scranton Times-Tribune

By Poune Saberi, M.D. - Op-ed

July 17, 2017

The extractive gas industry fails Pennsylvania communities in the most fundamental ways. What may not be obvious is that elected officials facilitate the destruction of the commonwealth. They prioritize the expansion of the drilling industry without regard to community health and welfare or safe, sustainable energy jobs in the renewable sector.

Our Pennsylvania government should immediately acknowledge the public health hazards shale gas extraction causes. Pennsylvania’s gas industry leaks a substantial amount of pollution into the air. The leaks include methane, which drives warmer weather that leads to more air pollution, and volatile organic compounds, some of which are carcinogenic. These harmful toxins are associated with asthma, heart and lung disease, threats to pregnancy and other hazards. It is up to the Department of Environmental Protection and our elected officials to hold the gas industry accountable and ensure we have health protections in place.

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Court Blocks E.P.A. Effort to Suspend Obama-Era Methane Rule

New York Times

By Lisa Friedman

July 3, 2017

WASHINGTON — Dealing a legal blow to the Trump administration, a federal appeals court ruled on Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency cannot suspend an Obama-era rule to restrict methane emissions from new oil and gas wells.

The 2-to-1 decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is a legal setback for Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, who is trying to roll back dozens of Obama-era environmental regulations. The ruling signals that the Trump administration’s efforts to simply delay environmental and public health actions are likely to face an uphill battle in the courts and require a more painstaking process.

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In abandoning Paris agreement, methane emissions are now, more than ever, a state problem

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By Anya Litvak

June 1, 2017

When President Donald Trump announced he wants no part of the Paris climate agreement, binding nearly all of the world's nations to decreasing global warming emissions, Pennsylvania's role in taking on methane — a powerful greenhouse gas that is the main component of the state's growing oil and gas industry — came into sharper focus.

"Gov. Wolf knows that in the absence of federal leadership on this issue, Pennsylvania must ensure reasonable protections from methane and continues to work toward that goal," said J.J. Abbott, a spokesperson for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.

Methane is 24 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere over a 100-year period, and 84 times more powerful over 20 years, which is the range that scientists believe is most crucial to contain global temperature rises.

Read enough? Click here to take action to #CutMethane.

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Friends and foes of gas industry converge on state Capitol

NPR State Impact Pennsylvania

by Marie Cusick

May 24, 2017

Two starkly different versions of reality were on display Wednesday morning at the state Capitol in Harrisburg.

Inside the building, a joint hearing by Republicans from the Senate Majority Policy Committee and Environmental Resources and Energy Committee examined the economic benefits natural gas production has brought Pennsylvania– with skyrocketing production, tens of thousands of new jobs, and more than a billion dollars in impact fee revenue. Outside, environmental groups and concerned citizens railed against the industry’s harmful air emissions, which exacerbate global climate change and can contribute to localized health effects.

Read enough? Click here to take action to #CutMethane.

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Report: Methane emissions up 20 percent at Pennsylvania natural gas sites

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Frank Kummer

May 10, 2017

Emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, are increasing at natural gas industry sites in Pennsylvania at a rate greater than gas production, alarming some environmental groups.

That news released this week was tempered somewhat Wednesday for environmentalists when the U.S. Senate voted to block a Trump administration attempt to roll back Obama-era methane rules on federal lands, none of which are in Pennsylvania, however.

PennFuture says new data being self-reported by the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania show a 20 percent increase in methane, which is a byproduct of flaring and venting that occur during natural gas production.  The data are for the years 2014 and 2015, the latest available.

At the same time, gas production rose about 12 percent, according to the Energy Information Agency.

“Any time emissions are rising faster than production, it’s clear that voluntary efforts to cut emissions are not working,” Rob Altenburg, director of PennFuture’s Energy Center, said in a statement.

Read enough? Click here to take action to #CutMethane.

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Message to Gov. Wolf: Stop Methane Leaks

Public News Service

By Andrea Sears

May 1, 2017

PHILADELPHIA – It's time to keep your promise and stop the leaks. 

That's the message Pennsylvanians affected by oil and gas emissions are sending to Gov. Tom Wolf. 

Every year, the oil and gas industry in the state emits more than 100-thousand tons of toxic air pollution, including methane and smog-causing volatile organic compounds. 

In January 2016 Wolf proposed new regulations for emissions from new facilities. 

But according to Joseph Minott, director of the Clean Air Council, when Wolf was first running for governor, he promised to tackle the leaks that are happening now.

"Four years later, we don't have those regulations, and that is very impactful to the communities that live near the infrastructure that already exists," Minott points out.

Read enough? Click here to take action to #CutMethane.

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