Friday, June 3, 2022

EQB Meets June 14 On Revised Final Regulation Reducing Methane Emissions From Just Unconventional (Shale Gas) Wells, Facilities; Working On Conventional Reg.

Environmental Quality Board is scheduled to meet on June 14 to vote on a revised final regulation reducing volatile organic compounds and methane emissions from unconventional (shale gas) wells and facilities.

The Board had adopted a final regulation on reducing VOC/methane emissions from both unconventional and conventional oil and gas facilities, however, DEP temporarily withdrew the regulation from Independent Regulatory Review Commission in May.

An objection to that regulation was raised by the Republicans on the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee questioning whether the regulation met the requirements of a 2016 law (Act 52) requiring separate regulations for conventional oil and gas operations.  Read more here.

The original final regulation did not distinguish between conventional and unconventional sources of emissions, but set a threshold above which oil and gas facility sources of VOCs/methane would be regulated.

In the executive summary of the revised regulation applying to only unconventional shale gas facilities DEP maintains “...Act 52 applies to rulemakings promulgated under title 58 Pa.C.S. Since this final-form rulemaking is being promulgated under the APCA [state Air Pollution Control Act] in Title 35, the requirements of Act 52 do not apply.

“Even so, the Board amended this final-form rulemaking to clarify that the control measures are only applicable to unconventional sources of VOC emissions.”

Conventional Sources

The Preamble to the revised rulemaking says “... the Department will develop a separate rulemaking for the RACT requirements for sources of VOC emissions installed at conventional well sites” since the regulations covering oil and gas facilities are being promulgated to attain both the federal 2008 and 2015 ozone standard.

“Once promulgated, the separate rulemaking for sources of VOC emissions installed at conventional well sites will also be submitted as a SIP [State Implementation Plan] revision.

“The Department is working toward completing both submittals by December 16, 2022, to avoid the Federal Highway sanctions.”

Click Here for the revised regulation and related documents.

Also on the EQB agenda is a proposed rulemaking proposing increases to radiological health-related fees.

The meeting will be held in Room 105 of the Rachel Carson Building starting at 9:00 a.m.  Click Here to attend the meeting via WebEx.  A conference phone option is also available: 1-415-655-0003 Access code: 2634 493 4499. 

For more information and available handouts, visit the Environmental Quality Board webpage.  Questions should be directed to Laura Griffin, Regulatory Coordinator,, 717-772-3277.

Related Articles:

-- DEP Plans To Present A ‘Narrower Version’ Of Final Oil & Gas Methane Emission Reduction Reg. To EQB At June Meeting

-- Post-Gazette: DEP Evaluating Whether To Resubmit Oil & Gas Methane Rule To EQB To Address Concerns About A Separate Conventional Oil & Gas Rule

[Posted: June 3, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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