Pa. DEP tightens gas drilling air quality rules

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says shale oil or gas wells will no longer be exempt from filing air quality plans.

The DEP says in a Thursday release that oil and gas well sites in Pennsylvania had been granted blanket exemptions from obtaining approvals since 1996.

DEP says the new guidance gives drillers of unconventional shale wells the choice of seeking an air quality plan approval or putting controls in place that are more stringent than federal air quality rules.

A DEP spokesman didn’t respond to a question about whether conventional oil and gas wells will be subject to the proposal.

Flaring, or open burning of excess gas, will only be allowed on a short-term or emergency basis.

The proposal will be published this week in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

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