Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Marcellus Drilling Advisory Committee Does Not Block Drilling Regs Going To EQB

On Tuesday the five voting members of DEP’s Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board adopted a motion to move DEP’s Chapter 78 (Conventional)  and 78A (Unconventional) drilling regulations to the Environmental Quality Board for final consideration, with industry comments.
The motion said that comments on the regulations by the voting members of the Board and any comments that DEP’s Conventional Oil and Gas Advisory Committee had on the regulations would be forwarded to the EQB.
The voting members of the Board include four representatives of companies involved with the drilling industry and a representative from the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research.
          “OGTAB recognizes that DEP's role in consulting with OGTAB has concluded.  OGTAB plans to exercise its statutory role in accordance with Act 13 to present a report on Chapter 78 and 78a to the EQB at the appropriate time,” said Bryan McConnell, Tenaska, Inc., Chair of the Board.
At the meeting, John Walliser, from the PA Environmental Council and a non-voting member of the TAB, asked McConnell whether he would accept a minority report responding to the comments offered by industry since they were incorporating the comments of COGA who was also appointed by DEP.
McConnell refused.
Other non-voting members of the Board added by DEP this year include Dr. Michael Griffin, Carnegie Mellon University, Emily Krafjack, Connection for Oil, Gas & Environment in the Northern Tier and Barbara Kutchko, National Energy Technology Laboratory.
TAB’s role is to advise DEP on rulemakings, and is not required to approve a regulatory proposal before it goes to the EQB.
DEP’s Conventional Oil and Gas Advisory Committee, covering conventional oil and gas well drilling, meets on October 29 at 10:00 in Room 105 Rachel Carson Building in Harrisburg. Click Here to register to view this meeting as a webcast.  Click Here for the meeting agenda.
DEP noted at the meeting, that since passage of the Act 13 drilling law in 2012 that these drilling regulations implement, Chapter 78 changes have been considered by three Secretaries of DEP, at more than a dozen public meetings of the TAB and COGA, 12 public hearings and two public comment periods.
This rulemaking has undergone more public review than any other environmental regulation in the 45-year history of modern environmental programs.
PennLive.com reported late Thursday the Chapter 78 regulations will go to the Environmental Quality Board for action at its November 17 meeting.  During the Conventional Oil and Gas Advisory Committee meeting, DEP staff said they may go to the EQB in January or February.
For more information, visit DEP’s Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board and Chapter 78 (Conventional)  and 78A (Unconventional) drilling regulations webpage.
DEP Committee Advances New Drilling Regulations
Oil & Gas Advisory Board Does Not Endorse Drilling Rules

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