This news story, originally published in Capital & Main on August 12, quotes from a letter sent by PEC and the Environmental Defense Fund to Members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Environmental Resources & Energy Committee on July 28, 2022 opposing Regulation #7-544 (Control of VOC Emissions from Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas Sources). Comments from PEC Senior VP John Walliser are excerpted below. Find the full story here.
Pennsylvania Legislators Stall Emissions Regulation
The state risks health and highway funding if it doesn’t pass regulations on oil and gas pollution.
Published on August 12, 2022
By Audrey Carleton
Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania are attempting to block the passage of regulations on hazardous emissions from oil and gas operations, a delay that could harm public health and increase pollution, say environmentalists — and could also jeopardize millions of dollars in federal highway funding.
The proposed emissions regulations, which must be written into state law by Dec. 16 to meet a federal deadline that, if not met, threatens $500 million in highway funding, have been opposed by key legislators with longstanding ties to the oil and gas industry. Currently, a resolution to disapprove the proposed regulations is heading to the state’s House and Senate after a vote by the House Environmental Resources and Energy (ERE) Committee on Aug. 2. The Legislature has 30 calendar days or 10 session days — whichever is longer — to vote on the resolution before it hits the desk of Gov. Tom Wolf. With just a handful of session days on the calendar thus far, it’s uncertain whether it will pass.
The regulation would require unconventional oil and gas sites, like fracking wells and natural gas processing plants, to adopt technologies that would limit emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) — which, when combined with nitrous oxides (also emitted by oil and gas sites) in the presence of sunlight, form ground-level ozone, a respiratory irritant. The regulation would have the additional benefit of reducing emissions of methane, though such emissions are not expressly limited by the rule. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 84 to 87 times more potent in its warming potential than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.
Environmental advocates are worried about the resolution. “Advancing this concurrent resolution will not achieve any public benefit; it will merely further delay implementation of overdue, mandatory and modest emission control requirements that are already practiced in the industry and required by other states,” John Walliser, senior vice president of legal & government affairs at the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and John Rutecki, regulatory and legislative manager for Appalachia at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), wrote in a letter to the Legislature.
Read the full article at Capital & Main.