DEP Accepting Feedback on Regulations to Reduce Air Pollution from Natural Gas Development

DEP Accepting Feedback on Regulations to Reduce Air Pollution from Natural Gas Development

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is accepting public comment and will hold three virtual public hearings on regulations to reduce air pollution from existing unconventional natural gas wells and infrastructure. The regulations would restrict volatile organic compounds (VOC) and have a co-benefit of reducing methane emissions as well.

“This regulation is part of Governor Wolf’s Methane Reduction Strategy, which is an important part of fighting climate change in Pennsylvania,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “By utilizing reasonable pollution controls we can reduce air pollution from gas wells and related infrastructure and improve air quality.”

The draft regulation would require additional controls at unconventional natural gas well sites and related infrastructure like compressor stations. The draft regulation, if enacted, would reduce air pollution by 4,404 tons per year of VOCs and 75,603 tons per year of methane.

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VOCs can cause ground-level ozone, which is a public health hazard, especially in hot summer months. Methane is a greenhouse gas and a primary component of natural gas.

To view the regulation or submit written comments please visit DEP’s eComment system at https://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/eComment/. DEP will accept comments through Monday, July 27, 2020.

DEP will hold three virtual public hearings on the regulation:

  • Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at 6 PM
  • Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 2 PM
  • Thursday, June 25, 2020 at 6 PM

Persons wishing to present testimony at a hearing must contact Jennifer Swan for the Department and the Board, (717) 783-8727 or [email protected], at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing to reserve a time to present testimony. Addresses and phone numbers for all persons wishing to provide virtual testimony is required.

  • Witnesses must be a resident of this commonwealth to provide testimony.
  • Organizations are limited to designating one witness to present testimony on their behalf at only one hearing.
  • Verbal testimony is limited to 5 minutes for each witness.
  • Video demonstrations and screen sharing by witnesses will not be permitted.
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Witnesses are requested to submit written copy of their verbal testimony by e-mail to [email protected] after providing testimony at the hearing.

Any members of the public wishing to observe the public hearing without providing testimony can also access the hearings through the EQB webpage at https://www.dep.pa.gov/PublicParticipation/EnvironmentalQuality/Pages/default.aspx. Those who have not registered in advance as described previously will remain muted for the duration of the public hearing. For additional information regarding the Department’s hosting of virtual public hearings, please click here.

Persons in need of accommodations as provided for in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 should contact the Board at (717) 783-8727 or through the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at (800) 654-5984 (TDD) or (800) 654-5988 (voice users) to discuss how the Board may accommodate their needs.

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The proposed regulation was adopted at the December 2019 meeting of the Environmental Quality Board.

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