The past few weeks have issued startling reports about the air and water pollution being generated by Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry.
First, a study from researchers at Drexel University found that even though oil and gas production dropped in recent years, the level of methane pollution associated with oil and gas development apparently went up. Then, a separate report from Duke University revealed that oil and gas companies have been spilling significant quantities of toxic wastewater across the state every day for the past decade.
Together these reports crystallize the reckless nature of Pennsylvania’s gas industry. There is no reason for methane pollution in the state to be increasing at these levels when there are well documented, affordable strategies that companies can implement to reduce pollution.
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Not only are companies NOT practicing responsible development, they seem to be actively fighting the state’s efforts to protect Pennsylvania families from this pollution. Last year, oil and gas lobbyists reportedly spent $8 million dollars in Pennsylvania trying to buy their way out of following basic environmental and public health protocols.
Tragically, their efforts appear to be successful. Right now circulating in the state legislature is a bill that basically bans the Department of Environmental Protection from implementing commonsense policies that will reduce methane pollution from the 100,000 active oil and gas facilities across the state.
The industry is arguing that such policies would be costly, unnecessary job killers. But clean air protections don’t kill jobs and industry knows it. At a senate hearing earlier this year, the President of the American Petroleum Institute was asked to provide evidence that methane-oriented energy policies hurt jobs. He had no such evidence.
Pennsylvanians deserve leaders that will stand up to the polluter lobby and look out for the interests of Pennsylvania families. Not leaders who will cave to special interests and fall for patently false claims about regulations being onerous job killers. In the wake of these recent studies, PA voters should be asking their legislators which side of this issue they want to be on.