A recent article by PG reporter Don Hopey ("Marcellus Gas Facilities, Near to One Another or Even Linked, Are Evaluated Individually for Pollution," Oct. 6) fails to inform readers of several important and basic facts.
The state's air quality regulations and state implementation plans already take into account that there will be multiple facilities operating throughout a county, and in doing so, establish applicable minor source emission limits that are protective of the public. Adding up separate minor facilities' emissions to come up with a sensationalist number ignores the underlying environmental analysis and inaccurately frames the issue of public safety. Arguments for grouping facilities that are not physically near to each other have been struck down by U.S. federal courts twice, and the physical proximity requirement has been documented in the Enviromental Protection Agency's own regulations since 1980.
The reference to the EPA considering a different standard of interdependency as somehow replacing the regulatory requirement of "adjacency" and ignoring the plain meaning of "adjacent" is solely based on nonbinding advisory letters which have no legal force, and EPA's position was specifically rejected by a U.S. federal appeals court.
In the case of the MarkWest permit and the facilities highlighted in Mr. Hopey's article, these facilities were properly permitted and should not be combined for permitting purposes. These facilities are not adjacent to each other; rather they are spread out over 200 square miles. In no event are any of the facilities within a mile of one another. To suggest they are near each other is not factually correct and misrepresents the permitting questions posed in the article.
Furthermore, the article repeatedly cites unsupported statements by opponents of natural gas development, despite the fact that the appeal was dismissed with prejudice. Despite this, with the help of Mr. Hopey, they are now attempting to retry the case in the newspaper.
At MarkWest, it is our policy and practice to meet or exceed all regulatory requirements and to be a good and responsible neighbor. MarkWest is proud of its operations and its employees who work and live in the communities where our facilities are located, and we will continually strive to make the communities we operate in and all of Pennsylvania a better place to live and work.
MarkWest Energy Partners L.P.
First Published October 12, 2013 8:00 PM