What suspending EPA’s oil and gas pollution standards means for Pennsylvania

More Pollution Headed for Pennsylvania

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's action to suspend commonsense leak detection and repair requirements creates an immediate health and environmental threat for communities in Pennsylvania. This loophole allows wells across the state to continue emitting methane, a powerful climate forcing pollutant, smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) like benzene, a known human carcinogen. 

In Pennsylvania, thus far over 800 new and modified wells are affected, causing approximately an estimated (1):

  • 125-500 tons of methane pollution  

  • 35-140 tons of VOC pollution  

  • 1.25-5 tons of HAP pollution

And the latest state data reveal emissions have increased more than 20% over previous years.

Affected Well Sources in Pennsylvania

New wells are being drilled every day that, because of Administrator Pruitt's action, will not need to perform common sense leak detection and repair.

Interactive Map of New Well Sources

How to Protect Pennsylvania

Despite this rollback by the EPA, the Wolf Administration and the PA Department of Environmental Protection have a proposed methane reduction strategy. Now is the time for the Governor to act and implement these pollution safeguards because they may be the only protection the people of Pennsylvania are left with.


(1) Emissions estimates represent the range of additional possible 90- day emissions. The lower bound is based on an assumption of constant reductions over time, which likely understates emission reductions given the importance of the first survey. The upper bound is a 90-day estimate based on annual mitigation percentages and field data showing that an initial survey can help to deliver much of this first-year benefit. The remainder of the emissions estimates in the post are based on the annual percentages.


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