Environmentalists question Pennsylvania's new methane rule

Associated Press

By Michael Rubinkam

April 10, 2019

The administration of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is pushing a regulation to control methane emissions from existing natural gas facilities that doesn’t directly target the potent greenhouse gas, raising alarm among environmental groups.

Instead, the proposed rule sets limits on smog-forming volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, emitted by Pennsylvania’s enormous gas industry, with methane reduction listed as a “co-benefit.” The rule, which is working its way through the regulatory process, doesn’t establish specific emissions standards for methane, the primary component of natural gas and a key contributor to climate change.

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Governor sets goals for Pennsylvania to cut greenhouse gases

WITF

By Marc Levy/The Associated Press

January 8, 2019

(Harrisburg) -- Gov. Tom Wolf is stepping up the fight against climate change and setting targets to slash Pennsylvania's greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades in a heavily populated and fossil fuel-rich state that has long been one of the nation's biggest polluters.

Wolf, a Democrat, on Tuesday issued an executive order that commits his administration to meeting certain targets, putting the state in a league with what the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions says are 20 other states that already set targets.

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DEP unveils proposal to reduce emissions from existing oil, gas wells

StateImpact

By Amy Sisk

December 13, 2018

Pennsylvania environmental officials have come out with a plan to reduce leaks from thousands of the state’s oil and gas wells.

The proposal is part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s strategy announced in 2016 to reduce methane emissions. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, sometimes leaks from wells and other natural gas components.

The draft plan released by the Department of Environmental Protection would beef up leak detection and require, in some cases, better controls to prevent emissions from escaping at wells and other gas facilities.

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Pa. drafts new limits on air pollution from gas wells as feds reconsider rules

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By Laura Legere

December 12, 2018

Pennsylvania environmental regulators are rolling out draft rules for controlling air pollution from the state’s thousands of existing oil and gas wells on Thursday, but the long-awaited measures have a shaky federal foundation.

The state Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed rules for cutting smog-forming compounds are based on Obama-era guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the Trump administration is proposing to withdraw.

The new state proposal is designed to curb direct emissions and leaks of volatile organic compounds from older well sites, storage tanks and other oil and gas facilities that aren’t covered by air pollution rules that DEP adopted earlier this year.

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No. 2 gas-producing state moves to curb air pollution

Associated Press

By Marc Levy

December 13, 2018

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania is aiming to curb air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from its vast natural gas exploration fields, with the governor’s administration proposing new regulations Thursday even as the Trump administration moves to relax federal requirements.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration brought the proposal to a technical review committee, the first step in what could be a two- to three-year process spurred by a 2016 federal requirement that applies to states and areas that don’t meet certain clean air standards.

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Pa. seeks emissions reductions from existing shale wells

E&E News

By Mike Lee

December 11, 2018

A package of proposed regulations would lower methane and other emission from existing oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania, in Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's second effort to reduce the air impacts of the state's booming shale drilling industry.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection finalized a permitting system last summer to control emissions from new wells (Energywire, June 8).

The move comes as the Trump administration is proposing a rollback on regulations from the oil and gas sector. Pennsylvania is the second-biggest gas-producing state in the country.

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EPA head says rollbacks will keep environment clean, economy up

WITF

By Reid Frazier

October 25, 2018

At an oil and gas conference in Pittsburgh Wednesday, Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler touted the Trump administration's moves to roll back over 70 environmental regulations, telling the crowd the rollbacks will make America's air and water cleaner while keeping the economy booming.

In a bullet-point laden speech before the Shale Insight conference, Wheeler reeled off a list of EPA initiatives to cut down on regulations on the coal and oil and gas industries, and recited data showing an improving environmental picture in the U.S.

 

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Leader of ‘new EPA’ speaks at Pittsburgh oil and gas conference

Beaver County Times

By Jared Stonesifer

October 24, 2018

PITTSBURGH — The acting administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told a conference of oil and gas executives Wednesday morning that he is leading a “new EPA” that will focus on deregulation and a streamlined permitting process.

President Donald Trump in July appointed Andrew Wheeler as the acting administrator of the agency, and the president hinted earlier this week that Wheeler soon could become the permanent director.

Wheeler, 53, began his professional career with the EPA in the early 1990s but later became a lobbyist for the coal industry. On Wednesday, he came to Pittsburgh to deliver the opening keynote address of the Shale Insight Conference, an annual gathering of industry insiders from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

During his speech in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Wheeler reassured those in attendance that they have a “new champion” in the White House in the form of Trump.

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Andrew Wheeler to oil and gas industry: Trump's 'new EPA' will remove barriers

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By Anya Litvak

October 24, 2018

The oil and gas industry is so important to the nation’s top environmental regulator that, upon taking the helm of the Environmental Protection Agency in July, Andrew Wheeler headed to a Range Resources well pad in southwestern Pennsylvania.

It was his first trip outside of Washington, D.C., and on Wednesday, the acting EPA administrator returned to the region to kick off the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s annual Shale Insight conference.

His message to the friendly crowd was clear: “The New EPA” — that was the title of his talk — is “removing regulatory barriers and leveling the playing field for American companies.”

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DEP moving forward with emission rules for existing oil and gas sources

StateImpact

By Marie Cusick

September 20, 2018

The state Department of Environmental Protection is moving forward with plans to regulate harmful air pollution from Pennsylvania’s thousands of oil and gas sites.

In June, the DEP released new general permits, aimed at controlling methane emissions from new oil and gas sources. In an August 4 notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the agency says it intends to propose new rules on existing sources to the Environmental Quality Board in early 2019.

DEP spokesman John Repetz said the department plans to discuss the draft concepts of the rulemaking with the Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee at their next scheduled meeting on December 13.

The move is part of a broader effort, announced by Governor Tom Wolf in early 2016, to curb climate-damaging emissions from the oil and gas industry.

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