Friday, November 30, 2018

DEP Advisory Committee Meets Dec. 13 To Discuss Reg Limiting Emissions From Existing Oil & Gas Operations; Update On PA Air Quality

DEP’s Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet December 13 on a draft regulation to set limits on volatile organic compound emissions-- with the “co-benefit” of reducing methane emissions-- from existing well sites, pumps, storage and other equipment at oil and gas facilities.
The regulation is based on a federal Control Technique Guideline for oil and gas facilities which will be used to develop a RACT standard.  RACT is defined as the lowest emission limitation that a particular source is capable of meeting with economically feasible, reasonably available emissions control technology.
DEP acknowledges in its proposal EPA is now considering changes to its CTG requirement, but they intend to move ahead with a proposed rule “with due consideration to the proposed changes.”
While the draft regulation technically proposes to regulate VOC emissions, these controls will in turn reduce methane emissions because both volatile organic compounds and methane are found in field gas at oil and gas operations.
Generally, the draft regulation calls for a 95 percent reduction in VOC emissions, however, some equipment-specific requirements call for less or more.  For example, natural gas processing plants are required to have zero VOC emissions.
Click Here for a PowerPoint presentation on the proposal.  Click Here for a very draft regulation.
Update On PA Air Quality
There will also be a presentation on the latest ambient air quality monitoring information DEP has available from 2017 and some from 2018.  Some key results in terms of exceedences of air quality standards--
-- Ozone (70 ppb): 2018-- 26 days (not QA/QC); 2017-- 22 days; 2016-- 27 days; 8 samplers, all in the Philadelphia area, show nonattainment of the standard;
-- Particulate 2.5: 2017-- 13 days; 2016-- 16 days; 2015-- 20 days; 1 sampler in Allegheny County shows nonattainment of the standard;
-- Sulfur Dioxide: 2017-- 21 days; 2016-- 1 day; 2015-- 22 days; 1 sampler in Allegheny County shows nonattainment of the standard.
Included in the presentation is a historical look at the dramatic improvement in air quality in Pennsylvania since the 1948 Donora air inversion that killed 20 people.
The meeting will be held in Room 105 of the Rachel Carson Building in Harrisburg starting at 9:15.
For more information and available handouts, visit DEP’s Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee webpage.  Questions should be directed to Kirit Dalal by calling 717-772-3436 or send email to:
(Photo: How Reducing Methane Emissions Creates Jobs, Environmental Defense Fund.)
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