LETTER: Pa.’s air quality is improving


Pennsylvania’s air quality, thanks to the greater production and use of natural gas, continues to make considerable progress. In fact, Pennsylvania’s top environmental regulator, DEP secretary Patrick McDonnell, recently made clear that “overall our air quality continues to improve.”

This April 1, 2016, photo shows a shale gas drilling rig in Washington, Pa.

Unfortunately, a recent column (“Proposed state bill could halt clean-air progress,” Aug. 23) fails to acknowledge natural gas development’s role in these meaningful environmental gains.

The data in DEP’s recent air emissions report reflects that these strong regulations coupled with the industry’s commitment to environmental protection are working as designed. Specifically, methane emissions from natural gas production have fallen 12 percent since 2012. And thanks to the greater natural gas use in power generation, asthma-causing air pollutants have fallen nearly 20 percent over the same period.

And it’s not just Pennsylvanians that are greatly benefitting from clean-burning natural gas. America now leads the world in carbon emission reductions as more locally produced, affordable natural gas is used to power our economy. As U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz recently stated, “increased production of oil and natural gas has been a major story in terms of our economy and environment.”

Your readers should also know that DEP air quality monitoring at active natural gas well sites conducted under both Gov. Rendell and Corbett repeatedly found no harmful air quality impacts. Further, a recent independent air quality study conducted for the Ft. Cherry School District in Washington County found that active hydraulic fracturing operations at a well pad near the school “did not substantially affect local air” conditions.

Our industry is deeply committed to working collaboratively with regulators and stakeholders alike to protect and enhance our environment. We also recognize the importance of engaging in this important debate and ensuring that it’s guided by legitimate facts and science.


Marcellus Shale Coalition

Pittsburgh, Pa.