Zoom: “Living With the Gases in the Marcellus Frack Zone” (3/29 @ 10 am)

by Duane Nichols on March 28, 2021

ZOOM: Monday, March 29th @ 10 AM

Residents React to Emerging Natural Gas Policy

Zoom Invitation from Russell Zerbo, Clean Air Council, Philadelphia & Pittsburgh, March 28, 2021

The Senate has taken a first step towards reinstating the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2016 methane pollution safeguards. This action by Congress is a powerful signal that they expect and support the EPA’s efforts to quickly move ahead with updating and strengthening these standards to levels that will protect frontline communities and prevent a worsening of the climate crisis.

Clean Air Council and its partners will discuss the realities of living near gas infrastructure across Pennsylvania in the context of changing federal policies and regulations on air pollution and energy infrastructure.

When: Monday, March 29th, 2021, 10AM-11AM

Where: Live zoom panel discussion! Register below.


Who: Lois Bower-Bjornson, Southwestern PA Field Organizer at Clean Air Council

>>> Wesley Silva, Pastor at First Baptist Church of Marianna

>>> Eve Miari, Advocacy Coordinator at Clean Air Council

Voices living around natural gas infrastructure across the state!
Please reach out to rzerbo@cleanair.org if you have any questions.

Read our statement from Executive Director and Chief Counsel Joseph Otis Minott:

“The U.S. Senate has taken a first step towards restoring the commonsense safeguards established by the 2016 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for oil and gas facilities, which were needlessly and dangerously gutted by the Trump administration. Using the authorities granted under the Congressional Review Act, the Senate has sent a clear message about the need to address methane pollution from the oil and gas sector, particularly as the Biden administration moves to update and strengthen federal standards to better protect public health and avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis.

As the second-largest gas producing state in the country, Pennsylvania stands to benefit greatly from this effort to undo one of the Trump administration’s most harmful rollbacks. The Pennsylvania Department of Public Health recently concluded that, “Air pollution is one of the greatest health challenges in Pennsylvania,” and the gas industry’s methane problem is growing in this state at an alarming rate.

The evidence is clear. Pennsylvania and other gas producing states need to cut methane pollution from oil and gas facilities by 65 percent below 2012 levels in the next five years to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. Reinstating the original 2016 NSPS will cut volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and methane, and help to reduce both the devastating impacts of climate change and the public health harms caused by smog-forming pollutants like VOCs.”

Russell Zerbo, rzerbo@cleanair.org
Advocate at Clean Air Council

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Leah Burrows March 28, 2021 at 10:43 pm

Oil and natural gas production emit more methane than previously thought:
Research finds EPA underestimates methane emissions from oil and gas production

Source: Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, March 26, 2021

The paper is published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

The research team, led by Joannes Maasakkers, a former graduate student at SEAS, developed a method to trace and map total emissions from satellite data to their source on the ground.

“This is the first country-wide evaluation of the emissions that the EPA reports to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC),” said Maasakkers, who is currently a scientist at the SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research.

Currently, the EPA only reports total national emissions to the UNFCC. In previous research, Maasakkers and his collaborators, including Daniel Jacob, the Vasco McCoy Family Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Engineering at SEAS, worked with the EPA to map regional emissions of methane from different sources in the US. That level of detail was used to simulate how methane moves through the atmosphere.

In this paper, the researchers compared those simulations to satellite observations from 2010-2015. Using a transport model, they were able to trace the path of emissions from the atmosphere back to the ground and identify areas across the US where the observations and simulations didn’t match up.

“When we look at emissions from space, we can only see how total emissions from an area should be scaled up or down, but we don’t know the source responsible for those emissions,” said Maasakkers. “Because we spent so much time with the EPA figuring out where these different emissions occur, we could use our transport model to go back and figure out what sources are responsible for those under- or over-estimations in the national total.”

The biggest discrepancy was in emissions from oil and natural gas production.

The EPA calculates emission based on processes and equipment. For example, the EPA estimates that a gas pump emits a certain amount of methane, multiplies that by how many pumps are operating across the country, and estimates total emissions from gas pumps.

“That method makes it really hard to get estimates for individual facilities because it is hard to take into account every possible source of emission,” said Maasakkers. “We know that a relatively small number of facilities make up most of the emissions and so there are clearly facilities that are producing more emissions than we would expect from these overall estimates.”

The researchers hope that future work will provide more clarity on exactly where these emissions are coming from and how they are changing.

“We plan to continue to monitor U.S. emissions of methane using new high-resolution satellite observations, and to work with the EPA to improve emission inventories,” said Jacob.

“It’s important to understand these emissions better but we shouldn’t wait until we fully understand these emissions to start trying to reduce them,” said Maasakkers. “There are already a lot of things that we know we can do to reduce emissions.”

This paper was co-authored by Daniel Jacob, Melissa Sulprizio, Tia R. Scarpelli, Hannah Nesser, Jianxiong Sheng, Yuzhong Zhang, Xiao Lu, A. Anthony Bloom, Kevin Bowman, John Worden, and Robert Parker.

The research was funded by the NASA Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) program.

Journal Reference:

Joannes D. Maasakkers, Daniel J. Jacob, Melissa P. Sulprizio, Tia R. Scarpelli, Hannah Nesser, Jianxiong Sheng, Yuzhong Zhang, Xiao Lu, A. Anthony Bloom, Kevin W. Bowman, John R. Worden, Robert J. Parker. 2010–2015 North American methane emissions, sectoral contributions, and trends: a high-resolution inversion of GOSAT observations of atmospheric methane. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 2021; 21 (6): 4339 DOI: 10.5194/acp-21-4339-2021



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