Pa. suspends air pollution controls at drilling sites

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA), February 26, 2011
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Just a week after repealing a policy requiring an environmental assessment of Marcellus Shale gas well permit proposals in state parks, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has announced it is suspending and reconsidering key air pollution controls governing the drilling industry.

The latest policy changes, detailed in today’s Pennsylvania Bulletin where official state actions are listed, would eliminate a December guideline that regulates emissions from all well operations in a region together, which could result in stricter pollution controls than if the wells are regulated individually.

The department is soliciting public comments on “whether any guidance or policy should be considered on this topic, and, if so, what such a policy or guidance might provide

The DEP also is seeking public comment on a policy adopted last summer that regulates emissions from non-road, “stationary engines,” including natural gas compressor station engines, which can be diesel or natural gas-powered and can be sources of smog producing emissions.

“This is troubling,” said Jan Jarrett, president and chief executive officer of Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, a statewide environmental group that has campaigned for a state severance tax on Marcellus Shale gas production. “These are the first Marcellus policies the Corbett administration is trotting out and it appears they are all rolling back environmental protections related to the gas industry.”

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