Shale Gas Infrastructure

The Marcellus Shale is a black shale formation that is located beneath the Appalachian basin and most of Pennsylvania. Considered to be one of the largest sources of natural gas in America, there is great interest surrounding the economic potential of drilling in the Marcellus Shale. However there are also serious environmental concerns. The Council’s Shale Gas Infrastructure Program tracks a wide variety of air quality issues associated with natural gas drilling in the Marcellus formation.
As natural gas infrastructure continues to expand throughout Pennsylvania and the Eastern seaboard, Clean Air Council remains steadily committed to supporting impacted communities in their struggles for a clean and healthy environment. This includes communities that are facing hydraulic fracturing, pipelines, compressor stations, pumping stations, storage facilities, and refineries.
Every stage of natural gas production and delivery causes air pollution. Shale gas operations can cause local air quality issues and interfere with our region’s ability to meet air quality standards. The Council maintains informational resources for residents, community groups, and public officials on the public health impacts of shale gas infrastructure. A full list of our resources is available at:
The Council is directly involved in community efforts to analyze the environmental, health, and safety impacts of shale gas pipelines and related infrastructure. Our response to shale gas infrastructure includes education, organizing, and legal advocacy to ensure that residents are well informed about the impacts to their communities and are able to pursue avenues for making their voices heard. More information about the proposed Atlantic Sunrise and Mariner East pipelines is available here:
Protect Our Children (POC) is a coalition of parents, concerned citizens, and advocacy organizations, dedicated to protecting school children from the health risks of shale gas drilling and infrastructure. We aim to mobilize communities to prevent shale gas infrastructure near schools, through connecting local groups to shared resources and information needed to protect our children’s health and safety. Our goal is to limit children’s exposure to harmful pollutants by keeping shale gas drilling and infrastructure one mile away from schools. More information about Protect Our Children is available here:  
Methane Pollution
Pennsylvania's natural gas industry leaks enough methane each year to meet the heating and cooking needs of all the households in Scranton and Bethlehem combined. Methane leaks occur along every step of natural gas extraction, processing, and transportation. This methane pollution is a significant contributor to climate change, as methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Using cost effective available technology and common sense work practices, the natural gas industry can quickly and significantly cut its emissions of methane and other harmful air pollutants. The Council is advocating for Pennsylvania to adopt the most stringent regulations possible to reduce these harmful air pollution leaks. Learn more about our campaign here:
Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has just proposed the first ever federal regulations for methane emissions from new natural gas infrastructure. These regulations are an important first step in limiting methane leaks. Over the course of the next month and a half, the EPA will be accepting publc comments, and on September 29th the EPA will be hosting a public hearing in Pittsburgh. Click here to learn more about the hearing and to sign up to testify.
Bureaucratic Improvement and Legal Action:
The Council will compare air regulations and policies of the Pennsylvania DEP’s various regional offices to ensure enforcement of regulations and to advocate for consistency where necessary. The Council will review and track issued permits to ensue that regional offices are applying policies and regulations as required. The Council will also identify best management practices and best available technologies that will be incorporated into future regulations.
Some of the Council’s recent shale-related achievements include:
•        Forcing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to be more transparent in permit evaluations as part of a legal settlement.
•        Forcing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to adopt US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) definition of single-source determination. 
•        Assisting a group to formally petition the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to complete air monitoring and a health assessment of a community living near a waste water impoundment. ATSDR accepted the petition and is currently performing the assessment
•        Organizing a local group to advocate for and get better technologies for new compressor stations and other fracking infrastructure.
•        Advocating for and achieving best practices for preventing air pollution at compressor stations and increased air monitoring at compressor stations. Some PA DEP regional offices are now starting to include these permit conditions into new plan approvals before the Council even has to suggest it.
Methane Fact Sheet RD8.pdf253.63 KB

On July 1, 2011, the Clean Air Council submitted comments on a proposed Plan Approval at the Barto Compressor in Penn Township, Lycoming County.  Find the comment attached below.

On June 28, 2011, Clean Air Council executive director Joseph Otis Minott, Esq. wrote a letter to Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) Secretary Michael Krancer requesting information regarding how PADEP plans to implement Step 2 of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule with respect to the oil and natural gas industry in the Commonwealth.  The full letter can be read below. 

On June 27, 2011, Clean Air Council executive director Joseph Otis Minott, Esq. wrote to Pennsylvania State Representatives and State Senator Ted Erickson voicing the Council's displeasure with Senate Bill 263, which would place the burden of proof on an agency to make a scientific demonstration to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission that data is "acceptable" as defined in the legislation.  The full letter can be read below. 

On June 16, 2011, Shawn Garvin, Regional Administrator of EPA Region III, wrote a letter to Clean Air Council responding to an earlier letter from the Council. The Council urged EPA Region III to undertake a comprehensive study of air emissions from Marcellus Shale drilling. The EPA letter can be read below.

Last week nearly 200 community members joined the Clean Air Council along with the Community Action Forum on Marcellus Shale at The Academy of Natural Sciences for an educational forum entitled "Drilling for Natural Gas in the Marcellus Shale: What it Means for Pennsylvania".  We received 74 questions from the audience and were only able to get to a fraction of them.  These questions are posted below and copies will be sent to the speakers.  The Council thinks it is important to let the speakers and community know what is on your minds when it comes to this important i