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dated: 2022-11-20 03:02:32 .
(Bloomberg) — An 11-day leak at a natural gas plant in Pennsylvania released more than 1 billion cubic feet of fuel into the atmosphere, according to the owner.
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The leak at Rager Mountain Campground in Jackson Township was finally stopped Thursday, Equitrans Midstream Corp. said. The company said the crew successfully flooded the storage hatch, which released gas through a 1 5/8-inch opening. Equitrans’ preliminary and conservative estimate is that 100 million cubic feet of gas was released per day. According to BloombergNEF, this corresponds to a total of 15,800 to 20,300 tons of methane. The largest known methane release in the US occurred in 2015, when an estimated 97,100 tons were released over several months from a storage facility in Aliso Canyon, Los Angeles, operated by Sempra Energy.
The Pennsylvania leak underscores the risk posed by natural gas, which has long been touted by fossil fuel companies as an energy source that can help nations transition away from coal. Natural gas burns cleaner than coal, but that advantage is negated when too much of it escapes directly into the atmosphere, where it has 84 times the warming power of CO2.
Methane is the main component of natural gas. Since the industrial revolution, it is responsible for about 30% of the rise in global temperature. Stopping the intentional release and accidental leakage of the potent greenhouse gas from fossil fuel operations is considered by scientists to be one of the lowest-hanging fruit in the fight against climate change. Equitrans said in a statement that it was first notified of the incident at Rager Mountain on November 6. Technicians who arrived on the scene as part of the emergency response noticed gas coming out of the vent “which depressurized the casing.”
A Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection official said in an email that the vent is a violation of state environmental laws, but it would be premature to speculate on enforcement actions or civil penalties during the incident and ongoing investigation.
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A major natural gas leak at a Pennsylvania facility has ended after 11 days
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