Today, June 5, 2017, concludes the public comment period for GP-5 and GP-5A, updating the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s air quality permitting rules for unconventional natural gas operations. It’s another milestone on Pennsylvania’s path to cleaner air, less waste, and new economic opportunities in sustainable energy.
These new rules are aimed at capturing methane (CH4), the primary component of natural gas and a major contributor to climate change. Finding and fixing leaks at well sites and along the supply chain will substantially reduce Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas emissions at a relatively low cost. But the environmental benefit, while considerable, is only part of the reason why PEC supports the development of reasonable and effective methane rules in our state.
Looking to other states that have adopted similar rules — including Colorado, Wyoming, and Ohio — we see that they deliver a whole range of economic and other benefits. Less waste, lower utility bills, improved public health and safety, new jobs in the burgeoning methane mitigation sector… the list goes on. Best of all, because oil and gas companies have often been close partners in the creation of successful state-level methane controls, we know that these outcomes can be achieved in a way that works for and with industry, not against it. Indeed, many operators already choose to invest in robust leak detection and repair practices voluntarily because it improves efficiency, saving them money in the long run.
There are a multitude of reasons why curbing methane emissions just makes sense for Pennsylvania — too many, in fact, for a single website to contain. That’s why PEC has created CH4nge.com: an online resource for government and business leaders, citizens, and others to learn more about why methane matters, and why addressing it is a win-win for all of us.
CH4nge.com serves as a repository for research and data detailing the economic costs associated with natural gas leaks, as well as opportunities to grow our economy by finding and fixing them; video and audio interviews with experts, entrepreneurs, and policymakers making the case for commonsense solutions; and analysis of Pennsylvania’s ongoing efforts to tackle emissions. This content will be updated and expanded over the weeks and months ahead as the process unfolds, and we will feature many of these stories on the PEC website as well. We hope you’ll help us spread the word by sharing them far and wide among your own friends and colleagues.
As an organization, PEC is all about convening disparate stakeholders to produce meaningful results through cooperation and collaboration. We look for the low-hanging fruit, and we relish the “win-win” scenario. Taking on methane is a rare opportunity for Pennsylvania to accomplish all of the above.