Report finds increased use of natural gas results in health benefits for Pennsylvanians

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According to analysis by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the increased use of natural gas in power generation has resulted in more than $500 billion in public health benefits for Pennsylvania residents due to pollution and emission reductions.

The analysis used emissions data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and applied methodologies from the U.S. Environmental Protection agency to determine that increased use of natural gas had between $450 billion and $1.04 trillion in public health benefits for Pennsylvanians.

According to the report, natural gas electric generation increased across Pennsylvania from 5 percent to 59 percent between 2005-2022. At the same time, criteria emissions that contribute to respiratory ailments – nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx)– decreased 81 percent and 93 percent respectively. According to Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection, between 2005 and 2022, 11,127,515 fewer tons of SOx and 1,317,335 fewer tons of NOx were emitted during those years. These air pollutants are commonly associated with respiratory diseases such as asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis and lung cancer.”

“Pennsylvania’s energy leadership with the sustained development of clean natural gas is generating substantial benefits for our environment, economy and, as this data shows, the well-being of our communities,” MSC President, David Callahan, said. “Thanks to natural gas, Pennsylvanians are breathing cleaner air than ever before, directly translating to improved quality of life for our residents.”

As the country’s second largest natural gas producing state, natural gas use in the electric power sector has led to record year-over-year carbon emissions decline for the state. Overall, the report said, carbon emissions from the state’s power sector are down 46 percent compared to peak levels in 2005, the equivalent of eliminating 12.5 million cars (all of the cars in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and several neighboring states, the report said) from the road for a year.

“The undeniable consumer, environmental and energy security gains afforded by Pennsylvania’s natural gas abundance should serve as a wakeup call for those convinced natural gas should not have a role in our future energy mix,” Callahan said.