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Pennsylvania DEP Releases Final White Paper on Use of AMD in Oil and Gas Operations

On January 9, 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released a final White Paper regarding the use of “mine-influenced water” in oil and natural gas operations.  According to the White Paper, mine-influenced water “may include water contained in a mine pool or a surface discharge of water caused by mining activities that pollutes, or may create a threat of pollution to, waters of the Commonwealth,” and it “may also include surface waters that have been impacted by pollutional mine drainage.”  The White Paper outlines (1) the process for DEP review and evaluation of proposals for use of mine-influenced water, (2) the storage options (impoundments, pits, tanks, etc.) for mine-influenced water prior to use by the oil and gas industry for natural gas well development, and (3) the DEP’s “potential solutions” to long-term liability issues related to the use of mine-influenced water.  The DEP has set up a webpage on its Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation website regarding the White Paper, including a searchable database of mine-influenced water discharges in Pennsylvania.