PA DEP Sec McDonnell Defends Overreach of GP-5/5A

At last week’s Oil & Gas Awards’ 2017 Northeast Industry Summit, MDN editor Jim Willis heard former Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary, Michael Krancer, say that the DEP’s proposed changes to General Permit (GP) 5 and 5A are “a big deal” and that the permits, as drafted, have the potential to stop PA natural gas production for 12-18 months while new regulations get sorted out (see Big News from the O&G Awards Northeast Industry Summit). We’ve written a fair bit about GP-5/5A, most recently in December (see PA DEP Extends Public Comment Period for Methane Regs). Our take on GP-5/5A is that it will target a reduction in fugitive methane. However, Krancer said the new rule would also stop any new pipeline construction through wetlands (virtually any and all new pipelines) until new permitting procedures are hashed out–hence his startling statement about production stopping for more than a year. Krancer also said GP-5/5A will regulate small gathering lines. PA’s legislators are very concerned about GP-5/5A and submitted a letter to DEP Acting Secretary Pat McDonnell in February with 21 questions about the new rule change. McDonnell met with several Senators and subsequently responded, in writing, by addressing each of the 21 questions. We have McDonnell’s letter and responses below…

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