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Connection for Oil, Gas & Environment in the Northern Tier
We Are Your Resource: Connection for Oil, Gas & Environment in the Northern Tier, Inc.
We Are Your Resource: Connection for Oil, Gas & Environment in the Northern Tier, Inc.

Connection for Oil, Gas & Environment in the Northern Tier's posts

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If you need to report an oil & gas problem, you may contact DEP 1-866-255-5158.

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The House is soon to consider SB562. SB562 will make it more difficult for you, the public to comment on proposed regulatory rulemakings. SB562 will also greatly politicize the regulatory process, resulting in extensive delays or no action on proposed regulations. 47 Senators - including in our Region - Senator Baker, Senator Scarnati and Senator Yaw - voted for this bill which now is in the House awaiting action.

Public comments are an important part of the rulemaking process. The industry fully takes advantage of commenting opportunities. The process must not be made more difficult for ordinary citizens concerned about regulations that also affect them. The rulemaking process is political enough, we must not provide more opportunity for the regulated community to influence or possibly craft regulations.

The present rulemaking process works. This has been demonstrated by the fact that proposed regulations move through a variety of steps and then are brought before the EQB for their approval to the IRRC for their approval and then to the legislature and so on. It is already a very cumbersome process, but it works. Just because the gas industry doesn't like that the EQB and IRRC voted to move the proposed Chapter 78/78a rulemaking forward is no reason to revamp the proven regulatory process.

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For many years we've been advocating for the Northern Tier Region to have an air monitoring network. Little by little monitors have been added. The DEP did respond to a while ago by placing NOx and O3 monitors in Bradford County, and a NOx in Tioga County. Later, as a result of our advocating the following monitors were added: Susquehanna County, VOC monitor, Tioga County, PM2.5 monitor and Wyoming County, VOC monitor. The VOC monitors were placed 'temporarily' in order to gain initial data to discern whether monitoring was necessary.

Yesterday, PA DEP announced they are designating two permanent (at least 3 years) air monitoring sites in both Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties for PM2.5 . Last month a PM2.5 monitor was added to the Bradford County site.

The monitors will have continuous monitoring and will be accessible by the public on the DEP website.

This has been a long time coming. It's a step in the right direction. While the gas industry repeatedly issues statements that emissions have decreased, in our region emissions have increased; the data continually indicates that fact.

We appreciate the DEP's air monitoring efforts and look forward to learning of the details.

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What do these 3 Northern Tier Assembly Members have in common? They've signed at least one (mostly more) letters attempting to block necessary and reasonable oil and gas regulations that would protect our water and provide for better operations near our homes and schools.

As if this weren't enough, despite the fact that these proposed regulations have been a very long 5+ years and arduous process and recommended by the commonwealth's IRRC - regulatory agency that insures regulations adopted have merit - Senator Yaw is planning to strike again - "Calls For Action On Disapproval Resolution For Final DEP Drilling Regulations" once the Senate and House reconvene next week.

Senator Yaw as Chairman of the Senate Environmental Energy and Resources Committee and Senator Scarnati as President Pro Tempore and Member ex-officio of all Standing Committees are both in a unique position to not only support these regulations, but advocate on behalf of their constituents that live in the drilling fields having their air, water and land impacted by gas development activity in measured feet from our homes and schools.

Here's their letters:

Here's the article with Yaw calling for the resolution:
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Very interesting end to the IRRC meeting today. Commissioners Mizner and Faber submitted a motion to disapprove the regulations today, the reason, they weren't in the public's interest. Fortunately for gas field residents, the motion failed.

Commissioners Ufberg and Watson countered that failed motion with a motion to approve the regulatory package (Chapter 78 and 78a) because it was in the public's interest - which passed 3-2!

Here's the Commissioners.

We most especially thank Chairman Bedwick and Commissioners Ufberg and Watson for their approval votes. We need these regulations, and while some of our assembly members lack that understanding, it is heartening to see that the regulatory process works. Thank you!

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Take a look at the DEP team who spent the better part of the day at the IRRC defending regulations that Senator Yaw and other assembly members attempted to stop. These regulations will provide for better practices near our homes and schools. These regulations will better protect us, our drinking water, and our environment.

Thank you Kurt Klapkowski, Liz Nolan, Secretary Quigley and Deputy Secretary Perry.

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We can't even begin to share our dismay of the ERE Committee's action urging the IRRC to disapprove both Chapter 78 and 78a oil and gas drilling regulations.

28,000 comments submitted over a two year period. COGENT participated in numerous subcommittee meetings, provided testimony at numerous hearings and submitted written comments. These regulations are necessary and long over-due. Rural shale residents in the Northern Tier Region are worthy of improved regulations in the drilling fields where we reside.

This action is nothing short of a travesty.

Senator Yaw is Majority Chair of the Senate ERE Committee.

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"But it's best not to be shortsighted here. Even under the most optimistic scenarios, there are going to be hundreds of fossil fuel power plantsbuilt across the world in coming years. This is especially true of natural gas plants, which play an important role in "firming" the fluctuations in variable renewable energy (and could potentially be run in the future on renewable biogas).

If we could start right now making all those new coal and natural gas plants air-pollution-free, it would be a public health win of historic proportions, to say nothing of the regulatory and civic battles that could be avoided."

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Update - Air Quality Permits - Bradford, Susquehanna & Wyoming Counties

BRADFORD, Towanda Twp - second application DEP received for the Gateway Cogen facility, small 80-300MW power plant. This permit is a general permit. They had previously applied for a Minor Facility Plan approval in Oct. 2015.

SUSQUEHANNA, Brooklyn Twp. - more info available on the permit for the Potter Compressor Station (Williams Field Services)

WYOMING, Nicholson Twp. - permit issued for the small 20MW Oxbow Creek Energy Plant

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Ok, this is not really news, it's more like a reminder. Drill Cuttings Beneficial Use Research and Development permit - we knew the R&D permit would expire March, 2017 -- and as is clear in this article, DEP has not yet determined whether they will move forward with a drill cuttings - beneficial use permit or not. This has been the case since the R&D permit was issued. It was to expire March, 2017. At that point, either a new beneficial use permit will be created or the "recycling of drill cutting waste" as used as "engineered fill and capping material" will cease.
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