Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board Approves Amendments to Chapter 78 of the Pennsylvania Code

On February 3, 2016, the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board passed the final revisions of the “Environmental Protection Performance Standards at Oil and Gas Well Sites” regulations amending Chapter 78 of the Pennsylvania Code.

In August 2013, the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) approved DEP’s proposed amendments imposing environmental performance standards for oil and gas surface activities.  In August 2015, PA DEP revised these proposed amendments in order to differentiate between conventional and unconventional oil and gas wells.  These draft final regulations  created two distinct chapters respectively addressing conventional (Chapter 78) and unconventional well development (Chapter 78a).  

In a Press Release, DEP declared that the amendments to Chapter 78 would improve protection of water supplies and public safety while addressing public resource considerations and landowner concerns. DEP also pointed out that “the regulatory language has been formulated with the input of more than 25,000 Pennsylvania residents.” The regulations now will be sent for review to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission and the House and Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committees.

Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow

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