On July 11, Republicans on the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee approved a letter to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission announcing their intent to review (and ultimately oppose) the final EQB regulation reducing VOC/Methane emissions from oil and gas facilities.
The letter does not delay action by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission which is due to consider this regulation on July 21, but gives the Committee an extra 14 days to review the regulation after the Commission does approve the regulations (Section 5.1(j.2) of the Regulatory Review Act.)
On June 14, the Environmental Quality Board voted 15 to 3, with one abstention, to adopt Part I of a revised final regulation reducing volatile organic compounds and methane emissions from just unconventional (shale gas) wells and facilities. Read more here.
The provisions of an earlier final regulation were changed to remove requirements covering conventional, low-producing, oil and gas wells.
DEP split the regulation because the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and the IRRC expressed a concern the original final regulation did not meet the requirements of a 2016 law (Act 52) requiring separate regulations for conventional oil and gas operations. Read more here.
Because conventional wells were removed, the regulation only results in reducing methane emissions by 20 percent and volatile organic compound emissions by 24 percent of the original combined regulation covering unconventional and conventional oil and gas facilities. Read more here.
Without regulations covering conventional oil and gas facilities, Pennsylvania would be losing 80 percent of the methane reductions and 76 percent of the volatile organic compound emissions benefits and not complying with EPA requirements. Read more here.
DEP staff told the EQB a regulatory package covering conventional oil and gas operations should be sent to the Board for action as soon as possible, but likely in September.
Loss Of Federal Funds
Pennsylvania is required by federal law and regulations to adopt regulations reducing volatile organic compounds [methane] from conventional and unconventional oil and gas facilities.
If the final regulations meeting these EPA requirements are not adopted and submitted to EPA by December 16, 2022, Pennsylvania risks losing federal highway funds.
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) serves as Majority Chair of the House Environmental Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-783-1707 or sending email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-7647 or sending email to: email@example.com.
— EQB Adopts Part I Of Reg. Reducing Oil & Gas VOC/Methane Emissions; 80% Of Methane Emissions Come From Conventional Oil & Gas Facilities; IRRC Considers July 21 [Posted: July 11, 2022] PA Environment Digest