"Essentially, we are doing much more by setting these limits as a line the operator cannot cross. This is an improvement in air quality protection," Krancer said. "We are also determining compliance based on the facility's actual emissions, instead of equating the permit's limits with the facility's emissions, as was previously done."
Operators of facilities permitted by the GP-5 must demonstrate that their facilities continue to be minor sources as defined by the Clean Air Act, allowing for operational flexibility.
DEP is also proposing a revision to one section of its air quality permit exemption list that governs which types of facilities do need to obtain a plan approval prior to construction. The proposed exemption would apply to wellheads and their associated storage tanks.
The proposed exemption requires drillers to control emissions more stringently and conduct leak detection on the entire wellhead, which is more comprehensive than is currently required by federal air quality rules for oil and gas development. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released these rules, called New Source Performance Standards, in April 2012.Operators of all newly drilled oil and gas wells would be required to decide between demonstrating eligibility for the exemption or applying for a plan approval after the proposed exemption regulations are finalized. Formal notices announcing the final revised GP-5 and the proposed exemptions to air quality plan approval regulations will appear in the Feb. 2 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin. DEP will accept comments on the proposed changes until March 19. For more information and to view the final general permit and proposed exemption, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click "Air" then "Bureau of Air Quality," or call 717-787-4325. Media contact: Kevin Sunday, 717-787-1323 SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection