Monday, April 30, 2012

West Virginia DEP Preparing For New Federal Air Regulations On Natural Gas Activities

West Virginia's Department of Environmental Protection is preparing to assume state regulatory responsibility for new federal air emissions requirements on oil and natural gas activities, which are expected to start taking effect in July 2012. The new requirements are due to a rule published April 17, 2012 by the U.S. EPA. Those rules aim to reduce toxic emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particularly during the flowback period of hydraulically fractured or refractured wells, along with defined control measures at compressors, processing plants, storage vessels and other industry facilities. The most onerous provisions won't take full effect until July 2015. According to an article in The State Journal, once the rule is in effect "operators will have to notify the W.Va. Division of Air Quality and the regional EPA office by e-mail at least two days before a well completion — that's the process, including fracturing and flowback, that prepares a drilled well for production." The article also states that operators will also have "to file annual reports detailing every well completion and specifying the compliance actions taken at all other sites during the year." The articles also notes that the rules will apply to every affected facility type that was constructed, modified or reconstructed since Aug. 23, 2011. Click to read the entire article. Click to read an EPA fact sheet on the new proposed rule.