Wednesday, December 14, 2022

EPA Accepts Final DEP Oil/Gas Facility VOC/Methane Emission Limits Regulations For Review, Stops Imposition Of Federal Highway Funding, Other Sanctions

On December 14, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
wrote a letter to DEP accepting DEP’s final regulations setting VOC/methane limits on conventional and unconventional oil and gas facilities for evaluation which “stops the imposition of federal highway funding sanctions that were set to take effect in Pennsylvania on December 16, 2022.”

The letter also said, EPA “rescinds the offset sanctions which took effect on June 16, 2022 as a result of EPA’s November 16, 2020 Finding of Failure to Submit (FFS) (85 FR 72963), which found that Pennsylvania failed to submit a SIP revision addressing the 2016 Oil & Gas CTG for the 2008 ozone NAAQS.”

Nearly $1 billion in federal highway funding was at risk if the December 16 deadline was not met.

EPA’s next step is to evaluate the approvability of the submission to see if it meets federal Clean Air Act requirements.

Click Here for a copy of the letter.

Conventional oil and gas facilities account for 80 percent of methane emissions from the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania because they have done little or nothing to control them.

The unconventional shale gas industry accounts for 20 percent because they have implemented some controls.

Other Challenges

On December 6, Marcellus Drilling News reported three industry groups representing the conventional oil and gas industry filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court December 5 in an attempt to block implementation of DEP’s emergency final VOC/methane limits regulation on conventional oil and gas facilities.  Read more here.

The two sets of final regulations limiting VOC/methane emissions from conventional and unconventional oil and gas facilities were formally published in the December 10 PA Bulletin and became effective.

The lawsuit alleges DEP and the Environmental Quality Board illegally promulgated the regulation under the emergency provisions of the state Commonwealth Document Law and did not comply with Act 52 of 2016 which requires the agencies to adopt separate and independent rulemakings setting requirements for conventional oil and gas operations.

The groups included the PA Independent Oil and Gas Association, PA Independent Petroleum Producers and the PA Grade Crude Oil CoalitionRead more here.

(Photo: Conventional gas well leaking natural gas in Allegheny County, courtesy of Earthworks.)

Related Articles - VOC/Methane Limits:

-- Marcellus Drilling News: 3 Conventional Oil & Gas Industry Groups File Lawsuit To Block Rule Limiting VOC/Methane Emissions From Conventional Oil & Gas Facilities

-- EQB Overwhelmingly Approves Emergency Regulation Setting VOC/Methane Limits For Conventional Oil & Gas Facilities; Republicans Vote Against

-- IRRC Approves Final VOC/Methane Emission Limits On Conventional Oil & Gas Wells - Federal Highway Funds Still At Risk; And First State MCL For PFOS/PFOA

Related Articles This Week:

-- Better Path Coalition: 65 Organizations, Businesses, 2,700+ Individuals Petition Gov.-Elect Shapiro To Ban Road Dumping Of Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater  [PaEN]

-- DEP Issues Notice Of Violation To Shell Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County For Air Quality Violations In Sept. - Oct.  [PaEN]

-- DEP Consent Agreement Allowing Shale Gas Drilling To Resume Under Dimock, Susquehanna County Sets New Drilling, Water Supply Protection Standards, Imposes $444,000 Penalty  [PaEN]

-- Bloomberg: A Massive Natural Gas Leak In Pennsylvania Is Adding To Climate Scrutiny

-- CNX Unveils Appalachia-Focused Vision For The Future, Promoting New Natural Gas Development, Use - ‘Produce It Here. Use  It Here - First’  [PaEN]

-- Ohio River Valley Institute Decarbonization Pathway Relies On Zero Emissions Resources, Energy Efficiency, Increased Electrification Is Less Costly Than Natural Gas, Carbon Capture Options  [PaEN]

[Posted: December 14, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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