Environmental Protection

Clean Air Council Says Pennsylvania DEP Failed to Regulate Fracking Pollution, EPA Should Step In

The nonprofit Clean Air Council (CAC) recently asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to intervene as a result of the failure of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's (PA DEP) to properly regulate fracking and gas processing pollution that contributes to climate change.

Clean Air Council is a non-profit environmental organization headquartered in Philadelphia.

In August 2010, Pennsylvania incorporated by reference new EPA rules addressing greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions from stationary sources (such as fracking operations). The EPA's so-called 'tailoring rule' addresses emissions of a group of six GHGs, including methane, which contributes significantly more to climate change than carbon dioxide and is a major component of fracking pollution.

The Clean Air Council complaint to the EPA cites specific instances in which PA DEP has failed to conduct required reviews of fracking operations and related pollution.

"Pennsylvania is simply dropping the ball on a significant source of pollution in the state. Federal and state laws are very clear about requiring monitoring and any necessary remedial action at the site of major polluters," said Clean Air Council Executive Director Joseph Otis Minott, Esq. "Frackers should not get a free pass in this state, particularly when their methane emissions are among the biggest contributors to climate change. Our view is very simple: If Pennsylvania DEP is going to abandon its duties here, the US EPA should step in to protect the public and environment."

According to a letter from the CAC to the EPA:  "CO2and CH4 (methane) are the most prevalent GHGs emitted from oil and gas operations and the industry is the largest human-made source of CH4 emissions globally."

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