Public Hearing on New EPA Fracking Rules on September 27th in Pittsburgh

by Duane Nichols on September 17, 2011

David Lawrence Convention Center

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold the first of three public hearings on proposed oil and gas emissions standards, from 9 am to 8 pm on  Tuesday, September 27th at the David Lawrence Convention Center in  downtown Pittsburgh. Hearings will also be held September 28th in Denver and September 29th in Arlington, Texas.

These proposed new rules are meant to control and reduce toxic air pollution from oil and gas wells that are hydraulically fractured, including those in the Marcellus Shale formation in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The EPA must finalize the new emissions standards by February 28, 2012, under a mandate in a court-ordered consent decree.

The public can comment on the proposed rules — the first changes in oil and gas emissions regulations in decades — which would use existing technologies to reduce pollution from well drilling, leaking pipes, storage tanks and gas compressor stations that contributes to smog and can cause cancer. Those emissions control technologies, including capture of volatile organic compounds and other gases now routinely vented into the atmosphere, are already employed by some companies and required by some states, but not Pennsylvania or West Virginia.

Persons wishing to present hearing testimony, limited to 5 minutes each, should contact Joan C. Rogers, USEPA, Office of Air Quality, Planning and Standards Sector Policies and Programs Division (E143- 03), Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27711; telephone: 1-919-541-4487; fax number: 1-919-541-3470; email: (preferred method for registering), no later than 4 p.m., two business days prior to each hearing. The last day to register for the Pittsburgh hearing is Friday, September 23rd, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

An eight (8) page Fact Sheet has been developed by US-EPA as well as a fifteen (15) page Slide Show Presentation to describe the essential components of the proposed new rules.  The Charleston Gazette reported on the new rules at the end of July; and, the Sustained Outrage blog contains a brief description.

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