Friday, August 3, 2018

Regulatory Agenda: DEP To Propose Methane Limits On Existing Oil & Gas Operations, Conventional Drilling Regs Early In 2019

The Governor’s Office published the semi-annual Regulatory Agenda listing regulations in development by state agencies in the August 4 PA Bulletin. (PA Bulletin, page 4729)
The Agenda shows the Department of Environmental Protection is planning to propose regulations limiting methane emissions from existing oil and gas operations in the first quarter of 2019.
These regulations will complement DEP’s action in June finalizing general permits setting methane limits covering new oil and gas operations.
Conventional Drilling
Also on the Agenda is a update to environmental standards covering conventional oil and gas drilling which DEP expects to also propose in the first quarter of 2019.
In 2016 the General Assembly passed a law killing a comprehensive update to conventional oil and gas regulations DEP had worked on for three years through Republican and Democratic administrations forcing DEP to start over.
A new PA Grade Crude [Oil] Development Advisory Council was created by the same law in the Department of Community and Economic Development with authority to review any conventional oil and gas regulations developed by DEP.
This past June, the House passed legislation-- House Bill 2154 (Causer-R-Cameron)-- to turn the clock back to 1984 for environmental standards covering conventional oil and gas drilling.  The bill is now in the Senate.
Fee Increases
DEP also expects to propose or finalize regulations increasing fees for several programs over the next six months, including-- Noncoal Mining, Unconventional Oil and Gas Wells, Water Quality Permits and Air Quality.
Here’s a sampling of the regulations listed for consideration in the next six months--
Agriculture (begins on page 4729)
-- Agriculture Conservation Easement Purchase Program - September proposed
-- Rabies Prevention & Control - September proposed
-- Weights, Measures & Standards - October final
Conservation & Natural Resources (begins on page 4730)
-- Conservation of Native Wild Plants - Summer as final
-- Snowmobile & ATV Grants - Summer as final
Environmental Protection (begins on page 4733)
-- Noncoal Mining Program Fee Increase - 3rd Quarter final
-- Mining Water Supply Replacement - 4th Quarter proposed
-- Unconventional Oil & Gas Well Permit Fee Increase - [Already published as proposed]
-- Conventional Oil & Gas Well Standards Update - 1st Quarter 2019 proposed
-- Triennial Review Of Water Quality Standards - 1st Quarter 2019 final
-- Water Quality Fee Increases - 3rd Quarter proposed
-- Storage Tank Update - 3rd quarter final
-- Air Quality Fee Increases - 4th Quarter proposed
-- Control Of Oil & Gas Methane Emissions - 1st Quarter 2019 proposed
-- Water Standard For Manganese - 2nd Quarter proposed
-- Class A Stream Redesignations - 3rd Quarter proposed
-- Land Recycling Update - 1st Quarter proposed
-- Ultra Low Sulfur Limit For Fuel Oil - 4th Quarter proposed
-- Final Particulate Matter Limits In Certain Areas - 4th Quarter proposed
-- Control Of VOCs Stage II Facilities - 4th Quarter proposed
Environmental Hearing Board (begins on page 4733)
-- Practice & Procedure - Fall/Winter proposed
For more information, see the entire Regulatory Agenda (PA Bulletin, page 4729).
Technical Guidance Agenda
Early in July, the Department of Environmental Protection published its semi-annual update to its Non-Regulatory Agenda listing the technical guidance documents DEP will be developing or finalizing over the coming year.  Click Here for more.

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