HARRISBURG — The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has confirmed that the state Environmental Quality Board (EQB) approved a proposed regulation that will strengthen environmental protection standards for the oil and gas industry.

The proposed rules reflect input from statewide environmental organizations, local government groups, residents living near well sites and industry representatives who have met with the DEP over the last two years.

The proposed regulations also zero in on drilling impacts to public resources such as parks and wildlife areas; the prevention of spills; the management of waste; and the restoration of well sites post-drilling. It also includes standards for gas lines and temporary pipelines, as well as provisions for identifying and monitoring abandoned well sites next to new well sites.

“The purpose of the proposed regulation is to update existing requirements for oil and gas surface activities to reduce potential environmental impacts from the oil and gas industry,” said Lisa Kasianowitz of the DEP. “The proposed regulations are a continuation of DEP’s record of strengthening environmental controls used by the industry to assure the protection of public health and safety while allowing for optimal economic development.”

The DEP recommended increasing the public comment period for the proposed rules to 60 days, instead of the normal 30-day period. The proposed regulation is part of the department’s duties under Act 13 of 2012, DEP officials said in a recent press release.

The public comment period will be opened — and the public will be invited to submit written comments to the EQB — after the attorney general’s office and the office of general counsel complete their review of the regulations.

Details on where comments can be submitted will be provided when the proposal is published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and on the DEP’s website. Details on the upcoming six public hearings’ location will be forthcoming.

The proposed regulation is available online at www.dep.state.pa.us by clicking on the “Draft Oil and Gas Regulations” button.

(1) comment

Luigie

No matter what new rules the state tries to use to control the shale gas industry they are now and will always be behind the environmental damage that this mostly unregulated industry has already done.

Cheney and his energy commission; which included ken Lay of the En-Ron fame removed the protection of the Clean Air and Water Act plus numerous other environmental laws which enforced protections for the public on the shale gas industries. The federal government should return these protections for the public to this industry so that state and local governments do not have to race to try to protect the public and the environment. Return this industry to laws that they must obey from the start.

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