According to the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance, the Keystone state is the fourth-largest coal-producing state, with 68 million tons of bituminous coal mined last year. For asthma sufferers like my daughter, this is not just a statistic.
The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania supports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recently announced Clean Power Plan because it will help reduce dirty carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants in a way that allows flexibility for states in meeting the new standards. As the Rev. Mitchell Hescox pointed out in the Post-Gazette (“Protecting God’s Creation: Pennsylvania Must Act Now to Reduce Carbon Pollution,” July 13 Forum), these proposed carbon standards make sense — but we must do more.
The league believes the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection must take the lead in regulating methane — specifically from natural gas emissions. Why? According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, methane, as a greenhouse gas, is more than 80 times as potent as carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame.
Throughout the commonwealth, wellheads, pipes, valves and compressors are releasing increasing volumes of methane into our atmosphere. Although the rates vary, their cumulative impact is significant. In fact, some project that methane could be worse than coal if methane is not addressed. Efforts in the reduction of both methane and carbon emissions will truly be worth a pound of cure for generations yet to come.
League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania