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State Energy Department wants data on Natural Gas Drilling Emissions

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced that companies involved in Marcellus natural gas drilling in the state must submit data on their facilities' air emissions for 2011. The agency is asking 99 operators to respond. These are companies involved in natural gas development, production, transmission, and processing.

"We use this information as a metric, as a look ahead, as a monitor," said DEP Secretary Mike Krancer. "It's sort of the same reason you go to a doctor. You take an EKG, and if everything isn't OK, you need to address that."

The DEP is looking for data from point sources including refineries, manufacturing plants, auto body shops, and dry cleaners and gas stations, among other things.

The data will be sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of an emissions inventory that the DEP sends every 3 years. This is the first time that the inventory will include emissions data for Marcellus Shale natural gas production and processing operations. Krancer said that this data will give even those who are strongly opposed to drilling on the Marcellus Shale formation information about its effects the environment.

"It's not an ideological issue, it's a scientific issue. That's what this air inventory is about. It's about providing data, and about providing us with a tool so we are maintaining our air quality as we develop what will, at the end of the supply chain, be a clean source of fuel," he said.

DEP is asking operators for emissions data for carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter of a certain size, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and total hazardous air pollutants, among others. Krancer added that the data will help Pennsylvania continue to meet federal clean air standards.