Thursday, December 12, 2013

EQB-DEP Open Comment Period For Oil & Gas Regulation Changes

The Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Quality Board announced Thursday the public comment period for the proposed Chapter 78 regulations setting updated environmental protection performance standards for oil and gas drilling operations will be open from December 14 when they are published in the PA Bulletin through February 12.
A copy of the proposed regulation is now available on DEP’s Oil and Gas Regulations webpage.
“Public participation is a key part to forging the best regulations possible,” DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo said. “An exceptional number of hearings are being offered by the EQB to gather information and to be sure that people’s voices are heard.”
The proposed regulation implements key provisions of Act 13 of 2012, including further consideration of impacts to public resources, such as parks and wildlife areas; the prevention of spills; the management of waste; and the restoration of well sites after drilling.
Additionally, the draft rulemaking also includes standards affecting the construction of gathering lines and temporary pipelines, and includes provisions for identifying and monitoring abandoned wells close to proposed well sites.
DEP will be holding two webinars on December 19, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and January 3, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., to present information and answer questions on the proposed regulation.
Click Here for more information or to register for DEP’s Informational webinars.  After registration, an email will be sent containing a link to the webinar. The webinar will be recorded and posted on the Oil and Gas webinars webpage for future viewing.
Public Hearings
During the public comment period, the EQB will be hosting seven public hearings across Pennsylvania and offer multiple ways to submit comments.  The public hearings will be held starting at 6 p.m. on the following dates--
-- January 7-- Tunkhannock High School Auditorium, 135 Tiger Drive, Tunkhannock, Wyoming County;
--  January 9-- West Chester University of Pennsylvania’s Sykes Student Union Theater, 110 West Rosedale Avenue, West Chester, Chester County;
-- January 13-- Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Klump Academic Center, One College Avenue, Williamsport, Lycoming County;
-- January 15-- Meadville Area Senior High School Auditorium, 930 North Street, Meadville, Crawford County;
-- January 16-- Good Hope Middle School Auditorium, 451 Skyport Road, Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County;
-- January 22-- Washington and Jefferson College’s Rossin Campus Center / Allen Ballroom, 60 South Lincoln Street, Washington, Washington County; and
-- January 23-- Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Convention and Athletic Complex, 711 Pratt Drive, Indiana, Indiana County.
Hearing Procedures
People wishing to present verbal testimony at a hearing are requested to contact the EQB at least one week in advance of the hearing to reserve a time. Those who wish to present testimony at the hearing may use the address below or call the EQB at 717-787-4526 to reserve time to testify. All relevant written and oral comments that are received at a public hearing will be considered when finalizing the regulation.
Witnesses are limited to five minutes of testimony and are requested to submit three written copies of their testimony to the hearing chairperson at the hearing. Organizations are limited to designating one witness to present testimony on their behalf at each hearing.
Individuals in need of accommodations as provided for in the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact the EQB to discuss their needs at 717-787-4526 or make accommodations through the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at 800-654-5984 (TDD) or 800-654-5988 (voice users).
Online Comments
Comments, including a one page summary, may be submitted to EQB by accessing the EQB’s Online Public Comment System.
Written Comments
Written comments and one page summaries can be mailed to: Environmental Quality Board, P.O. Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477.
Email Comments
People can also submit comments by sending email to:
Comment Deadline
All public comments-- written, online and email-- must be received by the EQB on or before February 12. If an acknowledgement of comments submitted online or by email is not received by the sender within two business days, the comments should be re-sent to the EQB to ensure receipt.
Comment/Response Document
The summaries and a formal comment and response document will be distributed to the EQB and available publicly prior to the meeting when the final rulemaking will be considered.
For more information and to view a copy of the proposed regulations, visit DEP’s Oil and Gas Regulations webpage.

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