Study Shows No Health Impacts from Marcellus Drilling Near School

One of the false allegations made against shale drilling is that it somehow pollutes the air–of particular concern near schools. A new independent two-year study commissioned by Range Resources at one of their drilling sites, located about a mile from a local school, thoroughly debunks that allegation. A first-of-its kind public health and long-term ambient air monitoring report (full copy below) provides analysis from nearly two years of continuous data from an unconventional Marcellus Shale well site nearby a high school and elementary school campus in Washington County, PA. The study found no health impacts from shale drilling.
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PA Senate Democrats Hold Anti-Shale Crapfest in Pittsburgh

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing in Pittsburgh, supposedly on strategies for combating mythical man-made global warming by reducing methane gas emissions. It reality it was an anti-shale crapfest, complete with speeches by radicals from PennFuture and the Environmental Defense Fund.
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PA DEP Committee Votes to Approve Onerous New Air Regs

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee voted to recommend the DEP move forward with a proposed new regulation to control volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, with a side benefit of reducing methane emissions, from existing oil and gas operations. It was a split vote, but it propels the regs to the next level.
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Enviros Don’t Like Gov. Wolf’s Onerous New Air Regs Either

regulations

In December, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) released a draft of onerous new regulations that focus on reducing volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and so-called fugitive methane. The new regs will force drillers and pipeline companies to spend big bucks to produce a teeny tiny improvement in emissions. The DEP followed up with a revised version just a few weeks ago (see PA DEP Releases Onerous New Air Regulations, Again).
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PA DEP Releases Onerous New Air Regulations, Again

In December, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) released a draft of onerous new regulations that focus on reducing volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and so-called fugitive methane (see Pa. DEP Jumps the Gun with Proposed New Emissions Regs). The new regs will force drillers and pipeline companies to spend big bucks to produce a teeny tiny improvement in emissions. The DEP is back with yet another revision of their onerous new regs, hoping this time they can ram them through and make them law.
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PA DEP to Push Onerous New Air Regs at Upcoming Meeting

In December, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) released a draft of onerous new regulations that focus on reducing volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and so-called fugitive methane (see Pa. DEP Jumps the Gun with Proposed New Emissions Regs). The new regs will force drillers and pipeline companies to spend big bucks to produce a teeny tiny improvement in emissions. The DEP is back, once again pushing its bad plan.
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Acid Rain Emissions from Power Plants Flat Thru 2050 Thx to Shale

Yesterday MDN brought you the story of a so-called acid rain permit issued to Pennsylvania’s largest natural gas-fired electric generating plant (see PA DEP to Issue “Acid Rain Permit” to Scranton Gas-Fired Power Plant). We outlined in that article the teeny tiny amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2), the stuff that causes acid rain, that gas-fired plants emit compared to coal and oil-fired plants.
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Va. State Agency Approves Atlantic Coast Pipe Compressor Stn

Artists rendering of ACP Buckingham County compress station (click for larger version)

Finally a little good news for Dominion Energy’s 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline project: The Virginia State Air Quality Board voted yesterday 4-0 to approve a compressor station for the pipeline in Buckingham County.
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PA DEP’s New Air Regs Would Exempt 80% of Conventional Wells

Last week MDN told you about onerous new regulations being proposed by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to cut down on supposed methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions coming from *existing* oil and gas wells and pipelines (see Pa. DEP Jumps the Gun with Proposed New Emissions Regs). In our initial reporting on the proposed new regulations, one bit of information escaped our attention: Most of PA’s conventional wells (80% or more) will be exempted from these new rules. And PA’s conventional wells reportedly account for more than 50% of supposed methane emissions. There are approximately 80,000 active conventional oil and gas wells in PA, and about 10,600 active shale gas wells in PA.
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Pa. DEP Jumps the Gun with Proposed New Emissions Regs

We told you that yesterday the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) was meeting to unveil proposed new regulations to cut down on so-called fugitive methane emissions from existing well pads and pipelines (see Proposed New O&G Emissions Regs Will Disadvantage PA Drillers). They met and released a draft of onerous new regulations that focus more on reducing volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions than they do fugitive methane–but the result is still the same: Force drillers and pipeline companies to spend bazillions of dollars to produce a teeny tiny improvement in emissions. The Marcellus Shale Coalition said, “Rather than creating more regulatory uncertainty [with these new regs at this time], it would be prudent for DEP to delay any regulatory proposals until federal rules are finalized,” pointing out the fact that federal rules are not yet finalized. In other words, Wolf’s DEP is jumping the gun.
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PA DEP Releasing Expensive New O&G Emissions Reg

The liberal PA Gov. Tom Wolf administration continues to tinker with (i.e. destroy) the Marcellus miracle in the Keystone State. In August the Wolf Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) finally, after years of work, implemented onerous new regulations to cut down on so-called fugitive methane emissions from *new* drilling and pipelines (see PA Harms Drillers, Pipelines with Over-Strict Methane Rules). Don’t worry, *existing* well pads and pipelines are now in Wolf’s crosshairs. On a different but parallel track, the DEP has, for some time, considered requiring new regulations to further reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions at oil and gas sites (see PA DEP Considers Rule Reducing/Eliminating VOC Emissions for O&G). The DEP has just released a draft of those regs, and will hold a meeting to discuss the new proposed regulation on Dec. 13.
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Small but Determined Group Wants to Block Ohio Cracker Plant

Last week the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency held an information session (to give out info) along with a public hearing (to accept comments) on the draft air pollution permit for PTT Global Chemical’s proposed ethane cracker plant complex in Belmont County, OH (see Ohio EPA to Hold Air Permit Hearing for PTT Cracker Nov. 27). Some 100 or so people turned up for the hearing, according to media accounts. Perhaps 35 people spoke during the public comment period. There were both supporters and detractors. We suppose we knew there were folks opposed to the project, but this is really the first time we’ve read about an organized effort to stop the project. That effort comes from the usual (irrational) anti-fossil fuel suspects who oppose all drilling, pipelines, and anything else to do with fossil fuels.
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MPLX $7M Fine/Settlement: Fix Air Pollution in PA-WV-OH-KY-TX-OK

MPLX, i.e. MarkWest Energy, has been slapped pretty hard by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection, and several other state environmental agencies. Last Thursday the federal EPA serving as lead agency, announced a settlement with MPLX (and its various subsidiaries) to pay nearly $7 million in fines and corrective actions to cut down on air emissions at 21 of its plants in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Texas and Oklahoma. Of that total, $925,000 is a fine or “penalty” for violating clean air laws at the plants. The rest of the money will be spent on corrective actions to fix things and cut down on air emissions.
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PA Harms Drillers, Pipelines with Over-Strict Methane Rules

Fugitive Methane

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s Administration fiddled with regulations to cut down on so-called fugitive methane emissions from drilling and pipelines for years. The regulations are known as General Permit 5 (GP-5) and General Permit 5A (GP-5A). GP-5 applies to pipelines and compressor stations, while GP-5A applies to well pads and drilling. The new regs went into effect in August–but only for new, not existing sources of methane emissions. Have no fear, Wolf has a plan to apply the same onerous regulations to existing sources starting next year (see Other Shoe Drops: PA Methane Emissions Regs for Existing Sources). Here’s the thing, PA’s standards are worse (far tighter) than federal regulations from the Obama EPA. Earlier this week the Trump Administration proposed to right-size the Obama EPA’s overly-harsh methane regulations for oil and gas (see Trump EPA Releases Less Onerous Methane Regs for Oil & Gas). Yet Pennsylvania refuses to follow suit and relax their new, over-the-top regulations. Which means they are intentionally harming the shale industry in PA, putting it at a disadvantage to the shale industry in other states by making it harder (and much more costly) to do business in PA…
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