A message from Pennsylvania Environmental Council President Davitt Woodwell
Change is in the air
Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry has grown to become the nation’s second-largest, bringing tremendous economic opportunity along with many challenges.
As our energy economy continues to grow, it becomes increasingly important that we make smart policy choices to ensure this growth remains healthy and sustainable.
Working together, we can realize common-sense solutions that protect the environment, benefit the economy, and work for the energy industry.
why methane matters
change is a challenge
Pennsylvania is producing more natural gas than ever before. But due to leaks in production, midstream, and distribution infrastructure, we are also wasting more gas than ever before.
In 2015, unconventional operations alone released more than 100,000 tons of methane into the atmosphere, enough to heat half the homes in Pittsburgh for a month. That represents hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues for operators – and higher utility bills for ratepayers.
The cost of these leaks is even higher when accounting for their climate impacts. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, much more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to trapping heat in the atmosphere.
change is an opportunity
The good news is that the means to significantly reduce methane emissions is within our grasp.
New technology for finding and fixing leaks – much of it developed right here in Pennsylvania – is both cost-effective and available.
Small businesses providing leak detection and repair (LDAR) services already employ hundreds of Pennsylvanians at dozens of sites statewide, and the methane mitigation industry is poised for growth in the future.
By seizing these opportunities, Pennsylvania can reduce waste, control costs, create jobs, and put a big dent in greenhouse gas emissions.
change is win-win
A growing number of natural gas-producing states have developed emissions standards for the oil and gas industry.
Their experience shows that, rather than creating division, the process can be a rare opportunity for productive cooperation between government, business, environmental groups, and citizens.
In state after state, stakeholders have found common ground in the recognition that reducing methane emissions is technologically feasible, environmentally responsible, consumer-friendly, creates jobs, and pays for itself. It’s both the “low hanging fruit” and the “win-win” scenario that benefits everyone.
Now it's Pennsylvania's turn.