By Julia Conley, Common Dreams, Aug 15
New research by a scientist at Cornell University warns that the fracking boom in the U.S. and Canada over the past decade is largely to blame for a large rise in methane in the earth’s atmosphere — and that reducing emissions of the extremely potent greenhouse gas is crucial to help stem the international climate crisis.
Professor Robert Howarth examined hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, over the past several decades, noting the fracking boom that has taken place since the first years of the 21st century. Between 2005 and 2015, fracking went from producing 31 billion cubic meters of shale gas per year to producing 435 billion cubic meters.
Nearly 90 percent of that fracking took place in the U.S., while about 10 percent was done in Canada….
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Text of sample message in a petition for which signatures are being gathered by PennFuture:
Pennsylvania is the second largest natural gas producing state in the nation. Methane pollution, as well as harmful VOCs from this production, poses a serious risk to our climate and our health.
Thank you for adopting crucial oil and gas pollution standards to control methane, VOCs and other harmful pollutants from new and modified natural gas infrastructure. This action was a significant step in cutting climate-warming methane and harmful air pollution across Pennsylvania.
However, there is still a lot of work to do. While the Trump administration attempts to roll back existing federal methane standards, tens of thousands of existing natural gas wells, compressor stations, and auxiliary infrastructure across Pennsylvania continue to leak methane. A recent analysis from Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) estimated that oil and gas facilities in Pennsylvania emit over 520,000 tons of methane annually. That figure is five times higher than what industry self-reports to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Regardless of the future of federal methane rollbacks, I implore you to direct DEP to develop a comprehensive rule to directly control methane from existing natural gas sources similar to the standards DEP developed for new and modified sources. Controlling VOCs, while excluding methane, will not fulfill your pledge to protect the environment and public health and curb climate change. By directly targeting methane, DEP would ensure the rule covers as many sources of methane across Pennsylvania as possible.
I urge you to continue your record of taking strong action on this issue by ensuring that DEP proposes a comprehensive rule that targets VOCs and methane from existing natural gas infrastructure.