EPA Seeking Comments on Proposed Methane Ruling

Keystone State News Connection

January 18, 2022

Emily Scott

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting public comments through the end of this month regarding a proposal which would sharply reduce methane pollution.

Environmental advocates in Pennsylvania say it is critical for residents to provide testimony because they are not being protected from the oil and natural-gas industry.

A study from the Environmental Defense Fund found the state’s gas industry leaked more than one million tons of methane in 2017.

Barb Jarmoska, board member of the Responsible Drilling Alliance, said the effects of methane’s potent greenhouse gas contribute significantly to climate change, which is already negatively impacting Pennsylvanians.

“We are putting Pennsylvania citizens in harm’s way in order to send this methane elsewhere,” Jarmoska asserted. “I hope as many Pennsylvania citizens as possible will take the time to visit the EPA website and let their voice be heard.”

Pennsylvania is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse-gas pollution in the United States. The EPA is accepting written comments from the public on the proposal until Jan. 31.

Hundreds of Pennsylvanians shared their thoughts on the proposal last month during three days of virtual public testimony hosted by the EPA.

Ralph Kisberg, consultant for the Responsible Drilling Alliance, was among those who spoke, saying the federal rule is needed because of inaction by state leaders to sufficiently regulate methane emissions.

“People everywhere deserve the same protections,” Kisberg contended. “This goes for climate emissions from Pennsylvania as well as health-damaging emissions. Here, the political influence of the industry is too vast, the industry too out of sight for most, the emissions too invisible.”

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection also released an updated plan to impose stronger restrictions on oil and gas well sites leaking methane, but advocates say it leaves thousands of low-producing wells exempt from the ruling.