Pennsylvania's new methane rule called 'the bare minimum'


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By Michael Rubinkam

The administration of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is pushing a regulation to control methane emissions from existing natural gas facilities that doesn't directly target the potent greenhouse gas, raising alarm among environmental groups.

Instead, the proposed rule sets limits on smog-forming volatile organic compounds emitted by Pennsylvania's enormous gas industry, with methane reduction listed as a “co-benefit." The rule doesn't establish specific emissions standards for methane, a key contributor to climate change.

Environmental advocates say the administration needs to do far more. Clean Air Council lawyer Robert Routh calls it “the bare minimum."

Administration officials say they're under a federal mandate to do something about VOCs, a component of ground-level ozone that can worsen bronchitis and asthma and contribute to premature death from respiratory disease. They say that controlling VOCs will also help reduce fugitive methane emissions.



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