Pennsylvania DEP wades into ambiguous area of noise regulation

May 26, 2015

Pennsylvania environmental regulators, who generally prefer the familiar matters of soil, air and water, are tackling the vagaries of noise from oil and gas development and finding that rules for sound are best left loose.

The Department of Environmental Protection is proposing to require companies drilling and fracking in the Marcellus and other gas-rich shales to make and follow site-specific plans to mitigate noise from well pads.

The draft rules do not set limits for how loud operations can be at certain times or distances. Instead, they tell companies to evaluate the normal noise in an area before drilling begins and take steps to minimize noise reaching nearby residents during the temporary but cacophonous work up until the point when a well starts sending gas to a pipeline.

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