Posted: 08 Jun 2018

Pennsylvania will soon enforce tougher air-pollution regulations on its thriving natural gas industry. The new regulations will be some of the toughest methane controls in the nation,  exceeding federal requirements.

Governor Tom Wolf said, “We are uniquely positioned to be a national leader in addressing climate change while supporting and ensuring responsible energy development while protecting public health and our environment,”

Pennsylvania is the second-largest natural-gas-producing state behind Texas, with its Marcellus Shale being the nation’s most prolific natural-gas reservoir.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) finalized the permits earlier this week to reduce leaks throughout the entire process of developing the natural gas. The new permits go into effect in August and will apply to new or updated well sites and compression, processing and transmission stations along pipelines.

The number of new wells drilled fluctuates every year but is usually between 500 and 1,000 with 2017’s figure at 809. Governor Wolf said he would issue rules for the 11,000 existing gas wells, but hasn’t proposed any yet.

The permits for existing wells will likely mandate better leak detection and repair at well pads than currently mandated by state and federal laws. It will also allow the DEP to penalize companies that don’t comply.

The reasoning behind these permits is the rising methane emissions from the shale gas industry according to the DEP’s most recent data. Scientists at the Environmental Defense Fund also recently calculated that Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale industry emits twice as much methane as companies are reporting.


  1. Frazier, R. (2018, June 7). Pennsylvania, for first, sets methane regulations on natural gas wells. Retrieved from
  2. Associated Press. (2018, June 8). PENNSYLVANIA State to gas drillers: reduce air pollution. Retrieved from