CCAN Looks to Maryland to Strengthen Rules Further to Fully Address Pollution and Community Concerns
TAKOMA PARK, MD — On Monday, November 16th, regulations will go into effect aimed at limiting methane emissions from certain natural gas facilities in Maryland, including compressor stations and large gas storage facilities. The rule puts Maryland in the vanguard of states working to limit methane emissions from gas infrastructure.
Anne Havemann, General Counsel, CCAN released the following statement in response:
We thank MDE for finalizing this strong regulation. Maryland’s new rule implements standards that should serve as an example to other states looking to limit methane emissions from the gas industry. The rule makes Maryland the first to require gas industry operators to directly notify communities of large blowdown events in their area. These blowdown events are loud, disruptive, and result in the release of vented, uncontrolled emissions. Maryland is now the second state in the nation to promulgate a regulation that requires the gas industry to report planned and unplanned blowdowns from compressor stations.
Maryland’s new rule likewise implements strong leak detection and repair requirements that other states will look to in setting their own standards.
Despite its strengths, the rule falls short in some respects and CCAN looks forward to working with MDE to improve upon this important first step in a subsequent rulemaking.
The volume of gas that triggers the blowdown notification requirements, for example, is too high and will result in high-emitting blowdowns that do not trigger notification requirements. Communities are particularly unnerved by and concerned about these blowdown events.
Moreover, we believe MDE missed an opportunity to embed environmental justice considerations into its rule. Given that gas infrastructure is increasing in Maryland, CCAN also urges MDE to ensure that environmental justice concerns are addressed in the siting of any new facilities.
State regulations like this are especially important given the EPA’s recent rollback of the methane standards that apply to oil and natural gas industry facilities. We are grateful to the staff of MDE for their hard work on this important rule.