PA DEP Releases 2012 Air Emissions from Drilling/Pipelines Report

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) released their annual natural gas drilling emissions inventory data report. The data tabulates air pollution from drilling and pipelines for all of 2012 and came from 56 Marcellus Shale drillers covering 8,800 natural gas wells and from 70 operators of 400 compressor stations, which received gas from Marcellus Shale and traditional oil and gas well sites. Important to note: New to the 2012 report were 250 additional compressor stations that process gas from traditional (not shale) well sites. These compressor stations were not required to report in 2011.

What does the latest report show? As you might expect, when you drill more wells and move more gas through pipelines, there’s more air pollution. However, the DEP is quick to point out that cumulatively, for all Pennsylvanians, air pollution is down–rather dramatically. Why? Because with more natural gas use in electric generating plants (replacing coal) and as a substitute for diesel fuel, overall pollution drops. Still, as MDN has pointed out on previous occasions, we must keep a close eye on air pollution in heavily drilled areas to ensure residents in those areas are not exposed to unsafe levels of pollutants. Below we have the DEP’s announcement from yesterday, a copy of the 2012 numbers, links back to the 2011 numbers (so you can compare them), and a few more thoughts on drilling and air pollution…

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