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Ohio May Expand Emissions Rules for Unconventional Oil, Natural Gas Ops

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) is seeking input on potential rules that would expand air emissions rules for both existing and new unconventional oil and gas facilities that aren’t already covered by general permits for midstream and upstream equipment.

The early outreach efforts kick-off a rulemaking process that could potentially lead to new regulations that are similar to those in effect for the industry under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New Source Performance Standards (NSPS). But unlike the NSPS, which cover only new or modified facilities, Ohio’s latest potential rules would extend to all unconventional oil and gas facilities.

OEPA said it envisions new regulations covering equipment installed at well sites, including dehydrators, heaters and storage tanks. Equipment installed at midstream compressor stations and other equipment involved in processing natural gas once it leaves a well could also be covered.

Early outreach, OEPA said, gives stakeholders an opportunity to provide comments and suggestions before the agency drafts the language of the rules. After it receives the input, the agency said it would begin drafting the proposed rule language and launch a formal comment period.

OEPA said it would accept early input until Dec. 19. More information about the process can be found on OEPA’s website.

If the agency proceeds with the rulemaking, it would be the latest in a series of regulatory overhauls since the first commercial production was reported from unconventional Utica Shale wells in 2011.

Since then, OEPA has drafted and rolled-out general permits for the upstream and midstream sectors to streamline the permitting process and reinforce the industry’s compliance with state pollution regulations. It’s also implemented requirements in recent years targeting fugitive emissions at well sites.

 

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