Friday, June 30, 2023

DEP Invites Comments On Proposed Air Quality General Permit For Coal-Mine Methane Enclosed Flares

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the July 1 PA Bulletin inviting comments on a proposed new General Permit Plan Approval covering Coal-Mine Methane Enclosed Flares (BAQ-GPA/GP-21).  (formal notice)

The general permit sets Best Available Technology requirements to meet emission limits for oxides of nitrogen (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO) and other pollutants.

The general permit includes specific monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements designed to keep the facility operating within all applicable Federal and State air quality requirements, such as: records of maintenance performed, municipal notifications, malfunction reporting and annual facility inventory reporting.

This will be the only opportunity the public has to comment on the requirements DEP sets for coal-mine methane enclosed flares.

There are no public comment periods on individual uses of this general permit at specific coal mining operations.  Municipalities are notified by the applicant when they submit the application to DEP to be covered by the general permit

Currently, permits for larger coal-mine methane are published individually for comment, however, many coal-mine methane flares have emissions that typically do not meet the threshold for individual permits and are exempt from permitting requirements.

The General Permit contains a threshold emission limit for coverage.

Click Here for a copy of the draft General Permit and supporting Documents.

Coal mine operators now have a greater interest in installing flares to reduce methane - a potent greenhouse gas - to participate in programs that allow them to generate and sell credits to other companies participating in greenhouse gas emission reduction programs.

DEP’s latest Pennsylvania Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory shows coal mining-related greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 totaled an estimated 11.91 million metric tons, just behind natural gas production at 12.33 million metric tons.

The greenhouse gas emissions from coal mining increased from 9.82 million metric tons in 2005 and natural gas production greenhouse gas emissions increased from 8.74 million metric tons in 2005.

A DEP research project in 2021 identified significant areas of Pennsylvania impacted by coal-mine methane emissions. Read more here.

The deadline for public comments is August 15.

A copy of the proposal will be posted on DEP’s eComment webpage the week of July 3.  Comments may also be submitted through that page.

Read the entire PA Bulletin notice for more information.

(Photo: EPA: Coal Mine Methane Flaring Technology & Case Studies; Coal Mine Methane emissions from DEP research project.)

Related Articles:

-- DEP Methane Overflight Research Study Resulted In Voluntary Reductions In Oil & Gas, Landfill Facilities; Coal Industry Uncooperative

-- Bay Journal: Satellites, Drones, Special Cameras Join The Fight Against Methane/VOC Pollution From Oil/Gas Wells, Petrochemical Plants, Landfills, Coal Mines In Pennsylvania

[Posted: June 30, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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