The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently cancelled the Pennsylvania Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee (AQTAC) meeting that was scheduled for June 9th. The AQTAC advises DEP on technical, economic, or other social impacts of existing, new, or proposed changes to air pollution control regulations, policies, and new control techniques or technologies related to air.
The Council is disappointed to hear about this second meeting cancellation. The committee has not met since February 11th. At that meeting, DEP introduced its Methane Reduction Strategy and concepts that were under consideration. DEP officials also publicly set expectations about the timeline of implementation, indicating standards for new sources would be in place by October and those for existing sources within 18 months.
DEP was expected to present its proposal for methane standards covering new oil and gas facilities at the AQTAC meeting in April. That meeting was rescheduled for June and is now delayed until August. This meeting would have allowed DEP to start the public participation process for their proposed methane rules for new oil and gas sources and also set the stage for completing additional work on rules for existing oil and gas facilities. PA DEP and the Wolf Administration have publicly committed to developing best-in-the-nation standards and citizens expect them to ensure that any future proposal is the most public health-protective. If the Administration continues to delay the work on these much-needed standards, the rules will likely not be best-in-the-nation by the time they are finalized as other states continue to move forward developing better and better requirements. We hope this critical public health work will not be further delayed and that Governor Wolf and DEP will make regulations for methane pollution a priority.
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