Spurred by the ballooning development of Marcellus Shale and other shale gas plays in the South and West, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing new emissions standards to control and reduce air toxins emitted from oil and gas drilling operations.
The EPA said the air pollution reductions from well drilling, leaking pipes and pipelines, storage tanks and compressor stations could be achieved using existing technologies already employed by several companies and required by some states, but not Pennsylvania.
The EPA was under a court-ordered consent decree to issue the proposed standards by today and take final action by Feb. 28, 2012. It will accept public comments on the proposed standards and hold three public hearings in the Pittsburgh, Dallas and Denver areas. Dates of the hearings were not announced but will be set soon, according to the EPA.
Clean Air Watch President Frank O'Donnell praised the EPA's approach for addressing air pollution from drilling operations.
"For an agency that's frequently derided as 'job-killing,' this proposal looks very promising," Mr. O'Donnell said. "It would not only reduce air pollution but would save industry money. It doesn't solve all the issues associated with fracking, but at least it would reduce the air pollution problems caused by it."