Who will finally take action on PA’s worsening oil and gas air pollution problem?


By Rob Altenburg, Director, PennFuture Energy Center 

Every year since 2011, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has asked drillers and owners of compressor stations to report the amount of air pollution they emit. We saw a dip in emissions of methane—the primary constituent of natural gas—in 2013 as a new set of regulations, the federal New Source Performance Standards, began to phase in, but emissions are once again on the rise.
Data from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) shows that natural gas production from such wells in Pennsylvania increased by more than 12 percent between 2014 and 2015. But the most recent inventory data shows that between 2014 and 2015, methane emissions rose more than 20 percent—an alarming increase. Any time emissions are rising faster than production, it’s clear that voluntary efforts to cut emissions are not working.


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

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May 10, 2017

PA Communities Bring their Air Pollution to Harrisburg

On March 21, over a dozen Pennsylvania residents gathered at the State Capitol to call on Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania legislature to protect them from oil and gas pollution. In meetings with representatives, residents called on elected officials to vote for policies that reduce harmful pollution, not those that maintain the status quo. 

Residents even brought air samples from their own neighborhoods and released them into the air outside of the Capitol, to bring attention to their real concerns about air pollution from the gas industry.

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March 28, 2017

PA Communities Demonstrate Support for Critical Methane Emission Rules at State Capitol

Harrisburg, PA - On Tuesday, March 21st Pennsylvania residents, environmental organizations, and health professionals will hold a press conference to express support for Governor Tom Wolf’s proposal to reduce methane emissions from new oil and gas operations.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released important measures in January to address methane pollution from new oil and gas operations. March 22nd would have marked the public comment period deadline for the measures. Yet the industry’s extensive and aggressive lobbying of state legislators very likely prompted DEP to extend the comment period to June 5th.

Today, attendees all emphasized the urgent need for DEP’s proposed standards for new sources, and called on DEP to quickly develop rules to cover existing sources of natural gas that are already polluting the air. Residents brought air samples from their own neighborhoods and released them into the air outside of the Capitol, to bring attention to their real concerns about air pollution from the gas industry.

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

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March 20, 2017

Pollution on the Rise; PA Families Need Protection

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.

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

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March 01, 2017

Share How Fracking Has Affected You and Your Community

In 2017, we resolve to get to know our neighbors and community leaders better. We need unity now to protect our communities from potential harms from fracking operations. This is crucial as we face a new Presidential Administration together.

The our elected officials and policymakers need to hear that our families must have protections from harmful air pollution from the oil and gas industry for the sake of our health.

Join us to share your experiences at a listening event on Thursday, January 26th at 6:00 p.m.

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January 11, 2017

Join Our #CutMethane Action on Social Media

Join us to take action to clean our air. Over 80 people participated on Sept. 11th at Greenfest Philly at the #CutMethane table. There, they took a selfie and helped fight methane pollution in Pennsylvania. The effort continues and we still need your help!

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas - 86 times more efficient at warming our climate than carbon dioxide in the short term. Each year Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry leaks over 100,000 tons of methane into the atmosphere. This methane often leaks with other harmful pollutants that are known to have direct and devastating health impacts. These pollutants include compounds that increase smog, as well as air toxics that can increase risks of asthma attacks, harm the lungs and heart, or lead to cancer.

In February, Governor Tom Wolf introduced a set of actions to cut methane pollution and other harmful emissions from Pennsylvania's oil and gas sector. This effort has since stalled and is under attack from the oil and gas industry and its allies in the General Assembly.

While we wait for Pennsylvania to take concrete action on methane, the latest data shows that air pollution from oil and gas operations is on the rise. Some pollutants increased by an alarming  40% between 2013 to 2014 in Pennsylvania. We cannot afford more delay in controlling natural gas production pollution. It’s time for our Governor to take bold action and for our representatives to realize that their constituents’ health depends on strong methane standards.

Help us get those standards moving forward in Pennsylvania. Here’s how:

  • DOWNLOAD the file.


  • CUT along the DOTTED line.

  • PLACE the mask in front of your face and take a selfie!

  • POST the selfie to Twitter or Instagram and use hashtag #CutMethane.

  • EMAIL the selfie to [email protected]

We greatly appreciate it. In addition to your post, we’re tracking all the selfies and will be bringing them to Governor’s Wolf’s attention very soon. It’s time for the politicians in Harrisburg to cut methane to protect our health and our environment, tell Governor Wolf we can’t wait! Let’s work together to for clean air and a stable climate.


Here's some fellow participants who have already helped #CutMethane.


September 19, 2016

Videos Show Drillers Don't Care

We recently posted videos of three Pennsylvania family’s experiences living close to natural gas infrastructure. Viewing these stories of Susquehanna County residents should only further anger us. The disregard the gas industry shows towards these citizens of our Commonwealth is unconscionable. The industry has come in and thrown up their facilities with no thought towards the impacts on those living nearby. These Pennsylvanians are plagued by a barrage of irritants. Noise that awakens them from sleep and in some cases causes seizures, dust dirtying their homes and cars, traffic from the constant shuffling of diesel vehicles in and out of installations, and powerful lamps making the darkest night an unwanted light show. Their daily lives are nothing like they were before the fracking industry moved in.

Read enough? Click here to send a letter to Governor Wolf and your representatives. 

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June 21, 2016

Upcoming AQTAC Meeting Cancelled for the Second Time this Year

The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently cancelled the Pennsylvania Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee (AQTAC) meeting that was scheduled for June 9th. The AQTAC advises DEP on technical, economic, or other social impacts of existing, new, or proposed changes to air pollution control regulations, policies, and new control techniques or technologies related to air.

The Council is disappointed to hear about this second meeting cancellation. The committee has not met since February 11th. At that meeting, DEP introduced its Methane Reduction Strategy and concepts that were under consideration. DEP officials also publicly set expectations about the timeline of implementation, indicating standards for new sources would be in place by October and those for existing sources within 18 months.

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May 24, 2016

PA lawmakers are about to make a huge mistake

“Scientists Are Watching in Horror…” 

That was pulled straight from a headline in National Geographic this week  in response to record breaking levels of melting ice  in Antarctica and Greenland. It serves as more evidence that climate change is happening, fast. And it’s not just impacting the polar regions of the planet. The impacts of global warming are being felt everywhere in the form of rising sea levels, devastating droughts, and horrific super storms. So why are Pennsylvania’s legislators poised to vote for policies that could make the problem worse?

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April 14, 2016

Pennsylvanians agree: it’s time to cut oil and gas methane pollution

What do 70% of Pennsylvanians agree on? The need to cut methane pollution from the natural gas industry.

Drillers routinely spew harmful methane emissions into our air. Methane (CH4), the primary component of natural gas, is carelessly vented, flared, and leaked as part of the drilling and production process. These emissions contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone (smog), which greatly exacerbates asthma attacks in children and lung and heart disease in the elderly. Toxic co-pollutants including benzene, a known carcinogen, are released alongside methane.

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February 09, 2016

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