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Delaware County Lawmaker Proposes Marcellus Air Rules

Susan Phillips / StateImpactPA

State representative Greg Vitali speaks at a Marcellus Shale air quality hearing.

State representative Greg Vitali, a Democrat from suburban Philadelphia, introduced legislation on Wednesday to regulate air pollution created by natural gas drilling. In a press release, Vitali says air quality needs to be a priority for the Department of Environmental Protection.
“The drilling, processing, and transportation of Marcellus gas require many pieces of equipment and activities which release harmful pollutants into the air,” Vitali said in the release. “In fact, gas transmission and production engines are the second largest contributors to nitrogen oxides emissions in Pennsylvania.”

The bill would:

  • Require the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to collect and publish information about air pollution emissions from Marcellus drilling:
  • Require air pollution permits for Marcellus wellhead area emissions and;
  • Increase air permit fees to help fund the DEP air pollution control program.

When it comes to gas drilling, air quality has so far taken a back seat to water quality. One issue is how to measure the air emissions. Environmentalists want the rules to reflect the cumulative effect of multiple sources of the gas drilling process. The federal Clean Air Act, passed back in 1970, exempts the oil and gas industry from this type of aggregation.

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