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Environment & Energy

Water Protection, Notification Guidelines Among Proposed Oil and Gas Regulations

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is collecting public comments on a set of proposals meant to give further consideration to parks and wildlife, prevent spills and manage waste in oil and gas drilling operations.

These would be implemented under Act 13, the law that governs the oil and gas development in the state. Provisions of the act are being challenged in court, but others are going forward.

Among the proposals is one that would require applicants for a well permit to notify the appropriate public agency if a well site is within 200 feet of a publicly owned park, forest, game land or wild life area or within 1,000 feet of a water well, reservoir or other water supply extraction point.

Another proposes additional requirements for liners of pits and impoundments and would require secondary containment at all unconventional well sites; the secondary containment would have to be inspected weekly. The proposal also outlines rules for operator response to spills and requires companies to develop preparedness, prevention and contingency plans when performing horizontal drilling under a waterway.

Other proposals would address orphaned or abandoned wells and containment. There are three remaining public hearings:

Washington County

Jan. 22, Washington and Jefferson College’s Rossin Campus Center / Allen Ballroom, 60 South Lincoln St., Washington, PA 15301

Indiana County

Jan. 23, Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Convention and Athletic Complex, 711 Pratt Dr., Indiana, PA 15705

Comments will be accepted via mail or web until Feb. 12.