Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
[Editor’s Note: Pennsylvania DEP, under the feckless leadership of Pat McDonnell, is caving to fractivists to frustrate recycling of wastewater!]
In February we told you about a group of radicalized anti-fossil fuelers who raised a stink with the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) over the DEP’s routine, nothing-to-see-here renewal of permits for already-running (with no operational problems) shale wastewater recycling facilities scattered around the state. And just like a cheap suit, DEP Secretary Pat McDonnell folded and caved to antis’ demands to reopen the reissued permits. Over the weekend DEP began accepting the caterwauling of wacko antis and their attempts to smear the shale industry.
Last April, the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) published proposed changes to the Residual Waste General Permit WMGR123–the permit that governs the processing, transfer, and beneficial use of oil and gas liquid waste to develop or frack an oil and gas well. In December the DEP published a final version of the new regs.
In the January 16th edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the DEP published a list of 27 facilities operating with a WMGR123 permit that DEP was reissuing permits for. By all accounts, it appeared (to us) to be a simple, normal, typical reissuing of permits for another 10 years for each facility. They have been safely operating, providing a critical service to the oil and gas industry while protecting the environment by recycling wastewater.
Enter irrational anti-fossil fuelers who hate the Marcellus and want to shut it down. They claimed the DEP didn’t follow its own new/updated WMGR123 permit rules by offering a public comment period (complaining session) before reissuing the permits.
Over the weekend the DEP published a notice in the March 20 PA Bulletin inviting comments on 64 applications for coverage under General permit WMGR123–49 prior applications, 9 new applications and 6 modified applications. Let the caterwauling begin! Here’s the word, from the PA Environmental Digest:
The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the March 20 PA Bulletin inviting comments on 64 applications for coverage under General permit WMGR123 for the processing and reuse of liquid oil and gas drilling waste (PA Bulletin, page 1553).
The notices are the result of a February settlement with environmental groups where DEP agreed to provide an opportunity for public comment.
The notices cover 49 prior applications, 9 new applications and 6 modified applications.
Facilities in these counties are included in the notice– Armstrong, Beaver, Bradford, Butler, Clarion, Clearfield, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Potter, Susquehanna, Tioga, Washington and Westmoreland.
DEP will accept public comments until May 19.
General Permit WMGR123 covers “Processing, transfer and beneficial use of oil and gas liquid waste to develop or hydraulically fracture an oil or gas well.
“Oil and gas liquid waste includes liquid wastes from the drilling, development and operation of oil and gas wells and transmission facilities.
“The term includes contaminated water from well sites, the development of transmission pipelines and the facility operating under this general permit, provided the generating facility has satisfied all other permitting requirements that may apply to contaminated water.
“The term does not include condensate from oil and gas transmission pipeline compressor stations that exhibits a characteristic of hazardous waste.”
On December 19, 2020 DEP published an updated version of General Permit WMGR123 making changes to the requirements to qualify for WMGR123, including new siting requirements.
Under the provisions for using General Permits, no prior notice of the public or opportunity for public comment is required, only a notice by DEP that a facility has qualified for the General Permit after the fact.
Editor’s Note: Simply put, DEP is caving to fractivists opposed to recycling; recycling that cheaply and effectively deals with produced wastewater without requiring it to go to municipal plants, that avoids stream discharges and reduces the demands for groundwater or stream withdrawals. This fractivist opposition, in other words, is pure obstruction and nothing else, but Patrick McDonnell, who has the infamous “backbone of a chocolate eclair,” is letting it happen.
This post appeared first on Natural Gas Now.