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DEP Issues New Gas Processing General Permit and Proposes Revised Exemption for Oil & Gas Exploration and Production Facilities

On February 2, 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ("PADEP") took two actions that impact the natural gas industry. First, PADEP issued the revised General Permit that covers natural gas compression and/or processing facilities, also known as GP-5. The revised GP-5 extends its coverage from certain sizes of natural gas fired engines to all natural gas fired engines at such facilities, and extends coverage from the glycol dehydrator to now include all associated equipment (excluding the reboiler). The revised GP-5 also imposes additional and more stringent air emission limits for various pollutants, including NOx, CO, VOC HCHO and particulate matter. PADEP's website has copies of the GP-5, application, comment and response document and technical support document which can be found at its website.

Second, PADEP issued proposed changes to Category No. 38 of the plan approval and operating permit exemption list, which covers oil and gas exploration, development, production facilities and associated equipment. The current exemption is pretty broad and far reaching covering virtually all oil and gas operations, whereas the proposed exemption provides a much more detailed description of the oil and gas operations that fall within and outside of the exemption. The proposed new exemption for oil and gas operations can be found at this link. PADEP is accepting comments to this proposed exemption until March 19, 2013.

If you need assistance understanding the new GP-5, or if you are interested in commenting on the proposed exemption, please contact either Mark Shaw at 814-870-7607 or Bob Gandley at 814-870-7661 at MacDonald Illig for such assistance.