"One of the clear messages we’ve been getting through this hearing and comment process, from both industry and environmental groups, is that we should hold additional hearings and extend the comment period," DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo said. "Public participation is a key component when crafting these regulations, and we are happy to accommodate this extended period."
The public comment period, originally scheduled to end on Feb. 12 is extended for 30 days to March 14.
Two additional public hearings will also be held, both beginning at 6 p.m. Dates and locations for the additional hearings are as follows:
• Feb. 10: Troy High School, 150 High St., Troy, PA 16947
• Feb. 12: Warren County Courthouse, 204 4th Ave., Warren, PA 16365,
“Nine public hearings and a total of 90 days for public comment is unprecedented; we are committed to understanding the concerns of all Pennsylvanians on this important state regulation,” Abruzzo said.
The hearings are being held by the EQB for the purpose of accepting comments on a proposed regulation for environmental protection performance standards associated with oil and gas activities. The EQB is a 20-member independent board that adopts all DEP regulations and considers petitions to change regulations.
Members of the public wishing to present verbal testimony are requested to contact the EQB to reserve time by either calling 717-787-4526 or using the address listed below. Those who are not able to sign-up in advance of the hearing will be given the opportunity to sign-up at the hearing and will be called upon to speak after those who pre-registered. All relevant written and oral comments that are received at a public hearing will be considered when finalizing the regulation.
Witnesses are limited to five minutes of testimony and are requested to submit three written copies of their testimony to the hearing chairperson at the hearing. Organizations are limited to designating one witness to present testimony on their behalf at each hearing.
Individuals in need of accommodations as provided for in the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact the EQB to discuss their needs at 717-787-4526 or make accommodations through the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at 800-654-5984 (TDD) or 800-654-5988 (voice users).
Members of the public who are unable to attend the hearing will have several other options for submitting their comments on the proposed regulations.
Online Comments Comments and a one-page summary may be submitted to EQB by accessing the EQB’s Online Public Comment System at http://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/RegComments.
Written comments and summaries should be mailed to Environmental Quality Board, P.O. Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477.
The summaries and a formal comment and response document will be distributed to the EQB and available publicly prior to the meeting when the final rulemaking will be considered.
Comments may also be submitted via e-mail to RegComments@pa.gov. If an acknowledgement of comments submitted online or by email is not received by the sender within two business days, the comments should be re-sent to the EQB to ensure receipt.
All public comments must be submitted to the EQB regarding the proposed rulemaking by March 14, 2014.
To view materials for the proposed regulation, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click the “Proposed Oil and Gas Regulations” button.