Saturday, January 28, 2023

DEP Issues Revised Air Quality General Permit For Natural Gas, Oil-Fired Small Combustion Units Up To 100 Million Btu/Hour; Benefits Oil & Gas Industry

The Department of Environmental Protection published
notice in the January 28 PA Bulletin announcing the availability of a revised GP-1 Air Quality General Permit for Natural Gas and Oil-Fired Small Combustion Units.

The primary change from the original GP-1 was to increase the size of the combustion units covered by the general permit from 50 million Btu/hour to 100 million Btu/hour.

As a general rule (Section A.9), this general permit says it can be used if the emissions from all sources and control equipment located at a facility and sources determined by DEP to be a single source are equal to or less than these amounts during a 12-month rolling sum basis--

-- 100 tons of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides;

-- 100 tons of particulate matter (PM10)

-- 100 tons of particulate matter (PM2.5)

-- 50 tons of volatile organic compounds

-- 25 tons of total hazardous air pollutants

-- 10 tons of any individual hazardous air pollutants

The changes will primarily benefit the operators of natural gas infrastructure from well pads to pipelines to natural gas processing plants that use a variety of natural gas-fired combustion units in their operations.

In fact, the Marcellus Shale Coalition was only one of two groups to comment on the draft GP-1 general permit when DEP put it out for public review in January of 2022.  The other commenter was a company that makes combustion units.

As a rule, general permits do not require any public notice ahead of a decision by DEP to authorize their use in individual cases.  However, after-the-fact notices are generally published in the PA Bulletin.

Click Here for copies of the GP-1 permit, supporting documents and a comment/response document.   Questions should be directed to Sean Wenrich, DEP, by email to: or call (717) 772-3979.

PA DEP Public Notice Dashboards:

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - Jan. 21 to 27  [PaEN]

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - Jan. 28  [PaEN]

PA Oil & Gas Industry Compliance Reports:

-- PA Oil & Gas Industry Has Record Year: Cost, Criminal Convictions Up; $3.1 Million In Penalties Collected; Record Number Of Violations Issued; Major Compliance Issues Uncovered; Evidence Of Health Impacts Mounts

-- DEP Report Finds: Conventional Oil & Gas Drillers Routinely Abandon Wells; Fail To Report How Millions Of Gallons Of Waste Is Disposed; And Non-Compliance Is An ‘Acceptable Norm’

NewsClips This Week:

-- Bradford Era: Rep. Causer To Chair House Energy, Environmental Resource Committee

-- StateImpactPA - Rachel McDevitt: PA Conventional Oil & Gas Drillers Abandoned Thousands Of Natural Gas Wells Over 5 Years, Ignored State Law, DEP Report Says 

-- Center For Coalfield Justice Blog: DEP Reports Conventional Oil & Gas Industry Has A Culture Of Noncompliance Not Likely To Change Soon, More Resources, Updated Regulations Needed

-- Environmental Health News: What Happens If The Largest Owner Of Conventional Oil & Gas Wells In The U.S. [Diversified Energy]  Goes Bankrupt? 

-- Bob Donnan’s Blog: UPMC, Allegheny Health Network Promote Natural Gas Despite Known Health Risks 

-- Post-Gazette - Anya Litvak: Flaring Emissions Dominate Pollution From Shell’s Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: Environmental Health Project Panel Warns Against Using Natural Gas For Hydrogen Hubs

-- TribLive Letter: EPA Must Protect Our Children Against Oil & Gas Facility Methane Emissions - By Moms Clean Air Force

-- WJAC: Environmentalists Question Elk County Crypto-Mining Proposal: ‘Nobody Heats Their Home With Crypto’

-- E&E News: Natural Gas Pipelines Explode - How Far Away Is Enough To Survive?  [National Transportation Safety Board Says Current Blast Zone Significantly Underestimates The Danger]

-- U.S. EIA: Over The Last 20 Years, Natural Gas Displaced Most Coal-Fired Electric Generation In PA [From 2% Of Generation To 52% In 2021] 

-- The Center Square - Anthony Hennen: Report: Coal Falls, Natural Gas Climbs In PA, But Not Without Tradeoffs

-- PennFuture Blog: What We Learned During Christmas Deep Freeze - You Can’t Rely On Natural Gas To Generate Electric Power When It’s Cold - By Rob Altenburg

-- PJM’s Preliminary Review Of Christmas Storm Electric Generation Failures Shows Natural Gas Units Failed To Provide Power At Over Triple The Rate Of Other Generation [PaEN]

-- Reuters: Winter Storm Elliot In December Hit Oil Production, Refinery Sites With Freeze-Ins, Equipment Failures

-- Spotlight PA-Stephen Caruso: Gov. Shapiro on banning new leases for oil & gas drilling in state parks/forests: "At this time, we have no plans to change that."

-- Post-Gazette - Anya Litvak: CNX Natural Gas Will Continue Stock Buyback Program Which Already Spent $868 Million: ‘And We’re Potentially Just Getting Started’ [DEP Compliance Database Shows CNX had 214 environmental violations over last 2 years, including abandoning wells without plugging them]

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: CNX To See Return To Normal Natural Gas Production This Year After failure Of Well In Central PA

-- CNX Pilot Project To Use Heat From Natural Gas Pipeline Compressor Stations To Generate Energy

-- PennLive Guest Essay: Thousands Of Refinery Jobs Are At Risk [Including In PA] And Congress Or President Must Fix It - By John Bland, Boilermakers

Related Articles This Week:

-- House Republicans Name Advocate For Conventional Oil & Gas Industry Rep. Martin Causer Chair Of House Environmental Committee  [PaEN]

-- DCED’s Conventional Oil & Gas Drilling Advisory Council Meets Feb. 16  [PaEN]

-- DEP Releases Bid Solicitation To Plug 19 Abandoned Conventional Gas Wells In Forest County All At Taxpayer Expense  [PaEN]

-- DEP Blog: Plugging PA’s Abandoned Conventional Oil And Gas Wells

-- Natural Gas Industry, Senate Republicans Launch Effort To Unleash The Industry, Reduce Regulation, Call For Automatic Approval Of Permits, Limit Public Comments  [PaEN] 

-- Damascus Citizens For Sustainability Files Lawsuit Challenging The Delaware River Basin Commission Fracking Wastewater Rule Generally And For Allowing Road Dumping Of Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater Creating Widespread Pollution  [PaEN]

-- PUC: Act 13 Per Well Drilling Impact Fee To Increase For Calendar Year 2022 Nearly 28% For Unconventional Shale Gas Wells  [PaEN]

-- FracTracker Alliance Seeking Information On Use Of Drones For Environmental Monitoring Work; Feb. 3 Online Meeting Set On Oil & Gas Facility Monitoring Project  [PaEN]

-- Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community  Feb. 1 Monthly Eyes On Shell Meeting. 7:30 p.m.

[Posted: January 28, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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