New Congressional Inquiries On Hydraulic Fracturing

April 2010 Vol. 65 No. 4

The EPA decision to delay the SI engine emission requirements was a victory of sorts. INGAA and many natural gas industry players had begged the agency to separate SI engines under 500 hp from the rulemaking setting emission standards for stationary reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE) under 500 hp, which are diesel powered. On March 3, the EPA announced it was agreeing to handle SI engines separately in a rule which would be published by Aug. 10.

However, the March 3 final rule does, for the first time, set new "malfunction" emission standards for gas-fired compression station engines rated over 500 hp. "The EPA discussion on malfunction emission standards in the final rule lacks clarity," states Lisa Beal, director, environment and construction policy at INGAA. "This requirement remains a concern – both for the March 3 Final Rule and the August 2010 rule for gas-fired engines. In the interim before the August 2010 rule, INGAA plans to continue to work with EPA on this issue and others including gas-fired engines emissions, maintenance practices for gas-fired engines and test methods."

Greenhouse Gas Emission Limits Face New Hurdle
Emissions from compression stations are also an issue in the context of potential EPA greenhouse gas (GHG) emission limits, though there concern is methane, not formaldehyde and other HAPs. Fortunately, with regard to GHG emission limits, both the Congress and the EPA seem to be pulling back considerably. That was evident in the letter Lisa Jackson, the EPA administrator, sent to Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) in late February committing to softening some of the provisions the EPA has proposed in its so-called "tailoring rule" That is the rule, which could be finalized any day, that raises some Clean Air permitting levels so that GHG emissions, when added to HAP emissions from the same engines, won't put a facility over the emission limit, forcing the company to get new permits or replace engines. After he received the Jackson letter, Rockefeller had specifically raised questions about the tailoring rule's impact on the natural gas industry. Apparently unsatisfied with Jackson's reply, he subsequently introduced legislation which would prevent the EPA from issuing its tailoring rule for two years