How Pennsylvania is Regulating Methane from the Oil and Gas

How Pennsylvania is Regulating Methane from the Oil and Gas
How Pennsylvania is Regulating Methane from the Oil and Gas Industry
Pennsylvania set the bar for tough emission requirements and is a national leader in
creating and implementing stringent enforceable regulations on the oil and gas industry.
As the first state in the country to require a comprehensive leak detection and repair
program at natural gas operations, Pennsylvania has led the way in protecting public health
and the environment from emissions resulting from natural gas operations in the Marcellus
Shale region of the commonwealth. Today, although implemented differently than other
states, we continue to regulate methane as stringently and effectively as any other state in
the nation.
Here’s a glance into what we require:
Pennsylvania’s leak detection programs require operators to conduct leak detection and
repair programs monthly using audible, visual and odor detection (AVO) methods. In
addition, on a quarterly basis, operators must use leak detection monitoring devices, such
as a forward looking infrared (FLIR) camera, to detect methane leaks. All methane leaks at
compressor stations or processing facilities must be fully repaired, completely eliminating
the leak in 15 days or less.
On well pads, leak detection and repair must be conducted annually and include the entire
well pad, not just the natural gas liquids tanks and piping as required by the EPA for the oil
and gas sector. Going above what is required by EPA, any detected leaks on well pads in
Pennsylvania are also required to be repaired within 15 days. Failure to comply with any
criteria associated with the operation of a well pad may result in the requirement for that
operator to cease operations.
DEP also incorporates leak detection and repair requirements as a permit condition for
natural gas transmission projects. Once again going beyond what is federally required,
Pennsylvania has also directed owners and operators of certain traditional oil and natural
gas sources to report their emissions annually.
It is also important to note that Pennsylvania’s leak detection and repair programs not only
control methane, they also are established to control volatile organic compounds and the
associated hazardous air pollutants.
So, how do we compare to other states? Under the administration of Governor Corbett,
environmental protection standards for the natural gas industry are among the most
extensive and comprehensive in the nation. It has been and will continue to be our utmost
priority to ensure that this valuable energy resource is produced and used with the safety,
health and well-being of Pennsylvanians in the forefront.
For a more detailed state-by-state comparison of how methane is being regulated in
Pennsylvania and in other energy producing states, click here.
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