Tuesday, December 17, 2019

DEP Estimates Proposed Methane Regs Approved By EQB Will Reduce Methane Emissions From Oil & Gas Operations By 75,000+ Tons/Year

The Department of Environmental Protection estimates the proposed methane regulations approved December 17 by the Environmental Quality Board for comment will reduce methane emissions from existing oil and gas operations by 75,000+ tons per year and Volatile Organic Compound emissions by more than 4,400 tons.
“Pennsylvania has seen major reductions in pollution since I came to office and our focus on increased reliance on clean energy, improved energy efficiency, and improved oversight of emissions of potent greenhouse gasses such as methane, have all been critical in helping to move Pennsylvania forward,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “I am proud to announce that we’ve taken another step in implementing my Methane Reduction Strategy. The new regulations will help identify and prevent leaks from existing wells and infrastructure, while protecting the environment, reducing climate change, and helping businesses reduce the waste of a valuable product.”
A part of the governor’s Methane Reduction Strategy, the updated emissions controls for VOCs will also reduce methane emissions, as the same control practices that prevent VOCs from escaping from natural gas infrastructure prevent methane from escaping as well. The new regulations are expected to reduce VOC emissions by more than 4,400 tons per year, and methane emissions by more than 75,000 tons per year.
“Both methane and VOC are precursors to the formation of ground-level ozone, a public health and hazard that contributes to asthma and other lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis,” said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “In addition to addressing climate change, the regulation will improve air quality across the state, ensuring that all Pennsylvanians, including particularly young and at-risk residents, are protected from harmful air pollutants.”
The new regulations would require oil and gas operators that produce above a certain threshold to use leak detection and repair (LDAR) equipment to identify (and fix) leaks, as well as use other equipment designed to reduce emissions.
Methane is a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide and reducing methane emissions is critical to addressing climate change. 
The Wolf administration has taken several steps to combat climate change and protect Pennsylvania from climate disasters, including joining the U.S. Climate Alliance and directing DEP to draft regulations to take part in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reduce carbon pollution from power plants.
A public comment period on the proposed regulations will open in 2020. After comments are considered, DEP will draft the final regulation for consideration by the EQB. The comment period will be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, and comments will be accepted through DEP’s eComment system.
For more information on steps Pennsylvania is taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, visit DEP’s Climate Change webpage.
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[Posted: December 17, 2019] www.PaEnvironmentDigest.com

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