On August 11, 2015, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released the draft final revisions to the “Environmental Protection Performance Standards at Oil and Gas Well Sites” rulemaking. The final rule will amend Chapter 78 of the Pennsylvania Code, Title 25, by providing for further consideration of potential environmental impacts from oil and gas field activities.
According to DEP, these amendments are aimed at improving the protection of water supplies and public safety while addressing public resource considerations and landowner concerns. DEP also emphasized the importance of transparency and improvement of data management.
In August 2013, the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) adopted DEP’s proposed amendments imposing environmental performance standards for oil and gas surface activities. Subsequently, Act 126 of 2014 was passed requiring EQB to “promulgate proposed regulations . . . relating to conventional oil and gas wells separately from proposed regulations . . . relating to unconventional gas wells. All regulations under 58 Pa.C.S. shall differentiate between conventional oil and gas wells and unconventional gas wells.”
As a consequence, DEP made some adjustments to the proposed amendments. The proposed regulations applicable to conventional wells were retained in the existing Chapter 78 and a new Chapter 78a was created for new unconventional well provisions. In March 2015, DEP published revised amendments upon which they accepted public comments until May 19, 2015.
As stated on the DEP website, the draft final revisions will be discussed between DEP, the Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board and the Conventional Oil and Gas Advisory Committee throughout 2015.
Further information is available at
Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow