Courtesy Penn State Extension
Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the new general permits for unconventional natural gas wells and compression, processing, and transmission facilities to help lower air pollution, and issue a control threshold on methane emission. Pennsylvania is the third state after Ohio and Colorado to have methane regulations for the oil and gas industry.
At the news conference, Governor Wolf stated, “These permits are a win-win, helping industry control methane emissions that cost them money, while also helping defend our children and keep our communities healthier through cleaner air. We’ve arrived at these permits through a comprehensive process that included feedback and input from both industry and the environmental community, and I am proud of the finished product that we are unveiling today.”
The newly revised general permits GP-5 and GP-5A have been under review for the past 2 years, with DEP holding town hall meetings and webinars, and processing over 9,000 comments. The new permits will go into effect August 8th of this year and will be for new compression processing and transmission stations along pipeline, and new natural gas wells. The permits will provide thresholds for methane, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), and nitrogen oxides (NOx). The permit will also require operators to meet the new federal source standards and provide what equipment and processes they are following to control pollution emissions.
“These permits incorporate the most current state and federal regulations for controlling air pollution,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “The permits for new unconventional natural gas wells and new compression, processing and transmission stations along pipelines are some of the first in the nation to comprehensively address methane emissions from all equipment and processes, and they also address other types of air pollution that contribute to poor air quality.”
Wolf has said he will issue rules for the state’s 11,000 existing Marcellus shale gas wells, but no proposals have been provided to date.
The new permits can be found on DEPs website.