Pennsylvania DEP Releases Methane-Related Permit Updates

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has released details of two draft final general permits (GP) that address methane emissions and other air pollutants from unconventional well sites and from midstream and natural gas transmission facilities.

“These permits are the first in the nation to establish a threshold to control methane emissions at unconventional well sites and midstream and natural gas transmission facilities,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “These permits are one part of fulfilling Governor Wolf’s methane reduction strategy, which aims to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change, affect human health, and waste Pennsylvania’s valuable natural resources.”

The updated GP-5 is applicable to midstream and natural gas transmission facilities, and GP-5A is for unconventional well sites and pigging stations. Both general permits incorporate the most current state and federal requirements.

“These permits will implement common-sense measures to reduce emissions of methane and other air pollutants from natural gas infrastructure, and they require regular leak detection and repair for unconventional gas operations,” said McDonnell.

DEP proposed GP-5 and GP-5A in early 2017, and received more than 10,000 comments on the proposed general permits. The draft final GPs will be presented to the Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee (AQTAC) on Dec. 14, 2017, and will be finalized in the first quarter of 2018.

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