Friday, November 15, 2013

IRRC Questions DEP Drilling Fee Increases

The Independent Regulatory Review Commission Thursday raised questions about whether the proposed increase in Marcellus Shale drilling fees “reasonable relationship” to DEP’s cost of administering the Oil and Gas Program.
In its comments, the Commission said: “Given that EQB (Environmental Quality Board) proposes significant increases for unconventional well permits, we ask EQB to explain how it arrived at the anticipated Program costs to support the reasonableness of the increases. We will review EQB's response to these concerns as part of our consideration of the final-form regulation.”
The proposal would increase the fee per Marcellus Shale well by about $1,800 per nonvertical well and $2,200 per vertical well.   Without the fee increase, DEP would start running a deficit next fiscal year.
DEP said the fee increase is necessary because of a 23.5 percent decrease in the number of Marcellus Shale well permit applications received by the department.
A copy of the IRRC comments are available online.
A copy of the proposal and the background fee reports is available on the EQB meeting webpage (look under the July 16 meeting).

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