Managing Methane

Natural gas burns cleaner than coal, but fugitive methane emissions from the supply chain undermine its potential as a lower-carbon energy alternative. It’s time to change that.


Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry has grown to become the nation’s second-largest, bringing tremendous economic opportunity along with many challenges. Chief among these, globally speaking, is how natural gas figures in the fight against climate change.

On one hand, natural gas burns cleaner than almost any other fuel — making it indispensable in the transition to a zero-carbon economy. On the other hand, the carbon-reduction benefits of natural gas use are all but canceled out by the release of fugitive emissions in its production and distribution. When it comes to trapping heat in the atmosphere, methane — the primary component of natural gas — is far more potent than carbon dioxide.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Recent technological advances, including innovations pioneered right here in Pennsylvania, make it simple and cost-effective for operators to quickly find and fix methane leaks in the supply chain. Increasingly, oil and gas companies are voluntarily adopting these methods in order to reduce waste and improve worker safety. But we still have a long way to go.

Now it’s up to the state to update laws and regulations for both new and existing facilities to ensure that Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry is a part of the solution to climate change — not part of the problem. Working with Environmental Defense Fund, as well as with in-state partners in the environmental and business communities, PEC advocates for policies that meet the challenge and embrace the opportunity.

A Sense of Urgency

Republican and Democratic lawmakers push Governor Tom Wolf to follow through on reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.

Putting the Pieces Together

Pennsylvania focuses on methane emissions from the oil & gas industry as part of a larger commitment to reducing the commonwealth’s carbon footprint.

Find and Fix

New leak detection technology will help natural gas utility Peoples Gas cut methane emissions from its Pittsburgh distribution system in half this year.

Step Onto the Virtual Well Pad

A virtual reality experience created by Environmental Defense Fund demonstrates just how easy and inexpensive it’s getting for natural gas producers to locate and repair methane leaks.

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