Despite claims made in a Feb. 23 editorial (“Methane’s Threat: New EPA Rules to Cut Emissions Are a Good Start”), shale-related methane emissions continue to steeply drop, thanks to the industry’s widespread use of operational best practices and continuous investments aimed at protecting and enhancing our environment.
In fact, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s own data (April 2015), we’ve seen a 13 percent drop in methane emissions even as gas production increased 50 percent year over year. And University of Colorado experts concluded in 2015 that the Marcellus Shale region had the lowest rate of methane release at 0.18 percent — well below the widely accepted threshold of 3.2 percent for natural gas to maintain its climate benefits.
Natural gas has been a clear environmental winner. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, we are at a 27-year low in carbon dioxide emissions as a result of natural gas being used more readily in power generation.
What’s more, natural gas development in Pennsylvania is a tightly regulated practice. For example, Pennsylvania was the first state in the nation to adopt comprehensive methane leak detection and repair requirements for oil and gas operations and was one of the first states to adopt annual emission inventories so we can gauge this environmental progress.
The facts are clear: Thanks to greater natural gas usage and development — and the industry’s commitment to protecting and enhancing our environment — air quality for all Pennsylvanians continues to improve.
Marcellus Shale Coalition