Operators Required to Notify Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Health Officials Before Fracking Operations Begin

Recently, members of the Allegheny County Health Departmen (ACHD) approved new shale drilling air quality rules requiring drillers to notify the ACHD no less than 72 hours before constructing well pads, drilling, conducting hydraulic fracturing, and gas flaring.

These proposed rules have been criticized by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as conflicting or overlapping with Act 13 of 2012 which preempts all local statutes regulating oil and gas operations.

As an approved air pollution control agency, the ACHD “believes that Act 13 preserves the department’s authority to regulate air impacts of oil and gas operations” in Allegheny County (which includes Pittsburgh) and that the new rules simply insure that the ACHD will be able to schedule its own inspections and air quality reviews.

The county asserted that the notification requirements are needed to ensure that drillers are living up to local air quality standards and meeting inspection mandates. Read the ACHD’s proposed rules.

This article was prepared by Barclay R. Nicholson (bnicholson@fulbright.com or 713 651 3662) from Fulbright's Energy Practice.