Pa DEP Draft Final Rule Discussions Regarding Oil and Gas Surface Regulations
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will continue to discuss the draft final rule with members of the Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board (TAB) and the newly created Conventional Oil and Gas Advisory Committee (COGAC) at upcoming meetings this year. COGAC will meet on Aug. 27, 2015 and Oct. 29, 2015 and TAB will meet on Sept. 2, 2015 and Oct. 27, 2015. All meetings will begin at 10 a.m. in Room 105 of the Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St. Harrisburg, PA 17101. All materials, including the most recent version of the regulation, are available on their websites.
On Aug. 27, 2013, Pennsylvania’s Environmental Quality Board (EQB) adopted DEP’s proposed rulemaking regarding surface activities related to conventional and unconventional oil and gas well development. Development of this rulemaking began in 2011 to update existing regulations to reflect advances in technology. Then in 2012, Act 13 significantly revised the commonwealth’s oil and gas laws and directed DEP to promulgate regulations to implement its environmental enhancements.
Once finalized, these proposed regulations will set new requirements related to oil and gas operations to ensure increased protection of public health, safety, and the environment. The primary goal of this rulemaking is to provide that oil and gas operators employ effective measures that prevent pollution, while allowing flexibility for the optimal development of this natural resource. These rules focus on performance over process and a commitment to responsible environmental protection for oil and gas extraction activities in Pennsylvania.
The proposed rulemaking was published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on Dec. 14, 2013. The EQB sought public input through an unprecedented public participation process that included a 90-day public comment period which closed on March 14, 2014 and nine public hearings (information below). During that period, the EQB received over 24,000 comments. All comments received on the proposed rulemaking can be viewed on the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) website at www.irrc.state.pa.us.
Since the close of the EQB’s public comment period, DEP has considered each of the comments and has revised the rulemaking to reflect the public’s input.
For more information about the Environmental Regulatory Process in Pennsylvania, DEP’s Citizen’s Guide to Regulations provides a step-by-step overview and tips for submitting effective comments, or contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.