A Department of Environmental Protection report on natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania concludes wells are releasing gas into the air – but not at a dangerous level.
The survey observed four Susquehanna County sites from August to October. DEP official Mark Carmon said the study found elevated levels of methane, propane, butane and other gasses in the air, but nothing surpassing the warning levels for “air-related health issues.”
Carmon said, however, the report is meant as a snapshot, not a definitive conclusion. “We really didn’t see anything in a short-term way that would be a health concern,” he said. “But again, I think the best quote here is, the report notes the sampling effort was not meant to address potential cumulative impacts, which would be a more long-term situation.”
The Susquehanna County study is the second in a series of three air-quality reports. Earlier, DEP released the results of air tests at Greene County and Washington County drilling sites, which found similar results. A third report will look at north-central Pennsylvania drilling.
Carmon said DEP did its best to look at a broad cross-section of drilling locations. “We looked at four different sites. We tried to vary them. Compressor stations, an active well that was being fracked. A well that was producing, and then some background locations,” he said.