PA DEP Reports: Air Emissions from Shale Industry Improved in 2015

The Pennsylvania State Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) keeps track of emissions from various sources–including the shale industry. When drillers drill and pipeline companies pipe, the equipment used leaks some nasty stuff into the air. Frankly it’s no different for any industrial activity or business. Even homes. We all emit stuff into the air. The question is, how much do we emit and does it rise to the level of being harmful? Yesterday the DEP released air emissions numbers for the shale industry for 2015–the most recent year in which they have completed data. What does it show? According to DEP Secretary Pat McDonnell, it presents a “mixed picture.” Some of the nastiest pollutants, like nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SOx) and particulate matter (PM2.5), decreased from 2014 levels. Some things like methane (natural gas, considered a “pollutant” if it escapes into the atmosphere where it’s said to contribute to mythical global warming) are increasing. Because methane is increasing, McDonnell says more needs to be done to stem the leaking. On balance, this report looks pretty good to us–pollution from the gas industry (the things that really matter like NOx, SOx and PM2.5, are decreasing. A reason to celebrate the good work being done by the industry…

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