PA DEP prepares above ground rules for natural gas industry

Matt Richmond
June 27, 2014

Six years into Pennsylvania's shale gas boom, the state is working on new environmental rules to change the way the natural gas drilling, or fracking, industry operates above ground.

The Department of Environmental Protection says those comments could represent as many as 5,000 unique suggestions for changes to the regulations.

Kurt Klapkowski, with the DEP’s Bureau of Oil and Gas Planning and Program Management, says the overwhelming message from environmental groups was the agency should not allow drillers to use open-air pits to store waste.

“We got thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of comments on that.”

The DEP also heard from members of the industry.

Conventional or shallow drillers say the new regulations are unnecessary and too expensive.

Senate and House committees have each approved a measure to require the agency to create separate regulations for shallow and deep, horizontal drillers.

Scott Perry, with the DEP’s Oil and Gas Program, says, “We would still continue to hold the conventional industry to the same kind of high standards that we expect of any industry operating in Pennsylvania.”

If the bill passes, the agency may have to start the whole regulatory process over again, Perry says.