A Positive Step Forward for Much Needed Controls

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Today PEC issued the following statement in response to the Department of Environmental Protection’s release of revised rulemaking for natural gas activity.

March 9, 2015

A Positive Step Forward for Much Needed Controls:
Pennsylvania Releases Revised Natural Gas Regulatory Proposal

Pittsburgh, PA – Earlier today the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released long-awaited revisions to its proposed rulemaking on managing unconventional shale gas development. While it will take time to review all of the details, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) today released the following statement:

“Our initial impression of the rulemaking revisions is very encouraging. There are significant changes – many of which we have advocated for over the past several years – including tougher containment standards, greater watershed protections, and more robust pre-drilling analysis. The Department is to be commended for improving this proposal,” said PEC’s John Walliser. “Its essential to advance and finalize the rulemaking to get these protections into operation.”

Among the immediately apparent changes are more robust surface and groundwater protection measures, expansion of required pre-drilling analysis to prevent pollution migration, tougher waste disposal controls, and the prohibition of wastewater storage pits. The use of impoundment pits has been a controversial issue due to concerns about ground and surface water contamination, as well as potential exposure to harmful air emissions.

“Tougher siting and containment controls for centralized wastewater storage makes sense,” said Walliser. “It’s a strong standard, but one that can and should be made.”

PEC will be taking a much closer look at the revised rulemaking, and will be submitting full comments to the Department. Those comments will be posted on PEC’s website (www.pecpa.org).