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Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania to require gas drillers to reduce air pollution

| Thursday, June 7, 2018, 11:51 a.m.
The Marcellus Shale contains natural gas, which is obtained through hydraulic fracturing, a technique in which millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground to break apart the rock.
Julia Schmalz/Bloomberg
The Marcellus Shale contains natural gas, which is obtained through hydraulic fracturing, a technique in which millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground to break apart the rock.

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania will begin enforcing tougher air pollution standards on its booming natural gas industry.

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration said Thursday that in August it will begin requiring the Marcellus Shale exploration industry to use better equipment to reduce methane emissions and other pollutants. It'll apply to new or updated well sites and compression, processing and transmission stations along pipelines.

The administration has worked on the new permits for several years.

Preventing methane leaks from well-site equipment and pipelines has become important for regulators because methane is a potent greenhouse gas.

Industry officials point to government data that says methane pollution is falling, even as production rises, and that companies have every incentive to ensure methane makes it into the pipeline, rather than the atmosphere.

Pennsylvania is the nation's second-largest natural gas-producing state.

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