Action Alert: Today’s the last day to tell the PA DEP to stop giving the natural gas industry a free pass on air pollution
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) has been hijacked by the natural gas industry. The agency sees its role as assisting the natural gas industry in quickly sliding through regulations instead of enforcing the Clean Air Act to protect public health and the environment. The DEP has made it clear that they are not interested in proper regulation of the air pollution from natural gas operations in Pennsylvania.
On October 12, 2011, the PA DEP released an astonishing new piece of technical guidance for determining whether various natural gas facilities should be lightly regulated as multiple minor sources or tightly regulated as a single major source of pollution (called aggregation). Facilities deemed major would be required to incorporate more efficient technologies to reduce emissions as well as complete much stricter monitoring and record-keeping.
This “guidance” mocks the Clean Air Act, the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act and EPA guidance in favor of the natural gas industry’s interpretation of aggregation. It gives the industry yet another way to skirt recordkeeping, reporting, monitoring and pollution controls.
The Guidance represents a tipping point on this issue as it plainly reveals that the Marcellus Shale industry is regulating itself in Pennsylvania.