The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is taking steps to curb harmful air emissions from natural gas sites. At an advisory committee meeting Thursday, regulators unveiled new draft permit requirements.
“Shortly, we’ll be formally publishing the draft documents in the Pennsylvania Bulletin,” says Krishnan Ramamurthy, DEP’s acting Director for Air Quality. ”We’ll be opening it for a 45 day comment period for the public and industry.”
Earlier this year Governor Tom Wolf announced his administration would target methane emissions, a powerful greenhouse gas which contributes to global climate change. The DEP has created new draft general permit requirements for oil and gas exploration, development, and production facilities.
They will require the industry to use best available technology, keep better records, and have quarterly monitoring inspections. Companies must attempt to repair a leak within five calendar days. The department is also revising the current general permit, to require more stringent leak detection and repair.
DEP also plans to create new emissions rules for existing oil and gas sources, but Ramamurthy didn’t give a timeline for when that would happen. The regulations won’t cover orphaned and abandoned wells, which can also be a significant source of air pollution.