On January 19, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary John Quigley announced that the state will impose new regulations on methane released from the gas drilling industry in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. DEP will revise its permitting process for new gas wells and pipelines by the end of 2016 and also plans to submit new regulations on methane from existing sources.
Under the DEP proposal, the state will develop a new general permit for natural gas wells by August that will require companies to check for leaks every three months and use the best available technology to control emissions. New pipeline compressor stations will also come under tighter permitting requirements. For existing oil and gas wells, the DEP plans to write regulations requiring them to adopt reasonably available control technology. Quigley said those rules could be submitted to the state Environmental Quality Board within 18 months.
Pennsylvania has become the second-largest natural gas producer after Texas in the last decade, as technology has made it possible to drill into the Marcellus Shale formation. [Teplitzky]