Study: Shale drilling spreads invasive plants in Pa. forests

PennLive

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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Protesters descend on Wolf’s Pittsburgh office to clear the air on methane

Observer-Reporter - Washington County News

By Rick Shrum

April 26, 2017

An environmental group and several supporters raised a stink – literally – about air pollution outside Gov. Tom Wolf’s Pittsburgh office Wednesday afternoon.

“Accountability is what this is about. Who should be accountable, the industry or Governor Wolf?” asked Lois Bower-Bjornson of Scenery Hill, the lead speaker at a rally outside the governor’s Piatt Place office downtown.

Bower-Bjornson is a member of Clean Air Council, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that organized the rally. She was among about a dozen people who gathered to urge the Democratic governor to keep his promise to implement standards on emissions of methane and other air pollution at existing oil and gas operations.

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

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Regulations uncertain, methane detection has economic benefits, group says

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By - Anya Litvak

April 12, 2017

 

Even as the federal government that once promised tighter control over methane emissions now heads in the exact opposite direction, environmental groups and companies looking to capitalize on stricter controls have not been deterred.

Methane monitoring creates jobs, announced a report commissioned by the Environmental Defense Fund, a New York-based nonprofit that has been studying methane emissions from the oil and gas sector for years.

To illustrate the point, EDF invited a helicopter company that flies over well sites and pipelines to give rides in search of methane leaks on Tuesday. Spoiler alert: None was found.

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

 

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