Flaring: A Continued Injustice in Northeastern Pennsylvania

Last week in the early morning of June 19, when one of our housemates stepped out on the porch of our farmhouse in Silver Lake Township, Susquehanna County PA, the sky was fiery orange. Knowing exactly what it was, he said, “They’re flaring over there.” We hopped in a car and drove about two miles to Carrizo O&G’s well pad where 10 wells have been in development on and off since 2012.

Flaring in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania on June 19. (photo credit Spencer Johnson)

Flaring was supposed to be stopped by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on October 15, 2013, forcing companies to use technology called “Reduced Emissions Completions” to pipe the gas directly into a pipeline. Instead they send it ablaze into the atmosphere, conjuring scenes only appropriate for a Michael Bay movie. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, as Air Division chief, postponed the flaring rule until 2015 because the oil and gas industry complained it was too expensive.

The harmful emissions locally and the climate change potential caused by this flare and thousands more are the direct fault of McCarthy and the Obama administration. They have failed miserably to address the issue on the most basic regulatory level because they serve oil and gas executives. From where we see it, those who rally to support the White House’s totally inadequate, destructive climate and energy policies are writing off shalefield communities like Susquehanna County as a sacrifice zone.