Hearings set on oil and gas regulations

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The Environmental Quality Board wants to give the public a chance to comment on proposed oil and gas regulations that would set new requirements for the industry. The board, chaired by the secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, will host seven public hearings across the state, including one at Washington & Jefferson College Jan. 22.


“Public participation is a key part to forging the best regulations possible,” DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo said in a news release. “An exceptional number of hearings are being offered by the EQB to gather information and to be sure that people’s voices are heard.”


According to a news release, the proposed regulations would implement key provisions of Act 13 of 2012 and take into consideration the impact to public resources, such as parks and wildlife areas, as well as the prevention of spills, management of waste and restoration of well sites after drilling.


It also includes provisions for identifying and monitoring abandoned wells close to proposed well sites and sets standards on the construction of gathering lines and temporary pipelines.


“Additionally, since 2008, the oil and gas industry has developed new practices to extract natural gas from shale formations,” reads a summary of the regulations on the DEP’s website. “These new practices require additional oversight of applicable standards and controls.”


The EQB is a 20-member independent board that adopts the DEP’s regulations and considers petitions to change regulations.


Public hearings will be held throughout January, and those who wish to present testimony at a hearing are requested to contact the EQB at least one week prior to the hearing to reserve a time.


The hearing at W&J will be held at 6 p.m. in the Allen Ballroom inside Rossin Campus Center at 60 South Lincoln St., Washington.


The DEP will hold two webinars Dec. 19 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. and Jan. 3 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. to present information and answer questions. Remarks also can be submitted via letter, email or online comment. For more information, visit www.dep.state.pa.us.


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