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Friday, January 20, 2012

DEP Accepts Public Comment on Oil and Gas Erosion Control Permit

DEP Accepts Public Comment on
Oil and Gas Erosion Control Permit

Harrisburg – The Department of Environmental Protection announced today
it has submitted a revised version of its erosion and sediment control general
permit for earth disturbance associated with oil and gas activities for
publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, along with four other supporting
documents, including a draft permit application and a policy explaining the
permit requirements.

DEP will accept comments on the documents from Jan. 21 to March 21,
2012.

DEP revised the permit and the associated documents to incorporate recent
regulatory revisions, to improve the administration of the program and to
implement changes agreed to in a settlement with the Chesapeake Bay
Foundation, Talisman Energy USA Inc. and Ultra Resources Inc.

“As a result of this agreement, the department has met with stakeholders
from industry and environmental organizations to develop a permit that
provides both regulatory certainty and continued protection of the state’s
waterways,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said.

The permit mandates protection of waterways and watersheds from sediment
runoff during construction disturbing more than five acres over the life of an
oil- or gas-related project.

The agency may also revoke licensed professionals’ ability to request
expedited permit reviews if they routinely submit applications for coverage
under the general permit that have administrative or technical problems.
DEP will no longer offer expedited review of permit applications for projects
that have the potential to discharge sediment and runoff to exceptional-value
or high-quality watersheds, have well pads that lie within floodplains or
would take place on contaminated lands.

For permit applications that do qualify for the expedited review process, DEP
will complete its review and return a decision within 14 days from the
submission of a complete and accurate application. In other cases, staff will
complete the review within 60 days. The agency has the right to “stop the
clock” on a permit application if it has administrative or technical problems.
The draft policy provides guidance on the operators’ obligation to implement
best management practices for erosion and sediment control and to restore
and stabilize a well site within nine months of completing the well.

When submitting a notice of intent to construct, operators must also
demonstrate that their post-construction stormwater management plans are
consistent with county stormwater management requirements.

To view the permit and related documents, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and
click on “Oil and Gas.”

Written comments may be submitted on the draft technical guidance
document for 60 days after publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. DEP will
accept comments submitted by email; no comments submitted by facsimile
will be accepted. A return name and address must be included in each email
transmission.

Written comments should be submitted to Joseph Adams, DEP Office of Oil
and Gas Management, P.O. Box 8765, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8765 or by
email to josepadams@pa.gov.

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