The Environmental Quality Board Tuesday approved a final regulation increasing oil and gas well permits fees that will raise an additional $4.9 million annually to make up for a 22 percent decline in the number of permits processed by DEP.
Without the fee increase, DEP would start running a deficit over the next few months and could not support the number of staff now in the Oil and Gas Program.
The cost to DEP to regulate Marcellus Shale wells has also increased due to the new requirements included in Act 13 of 2012 and the 23.5 percent increase in the number of actual wells drilled requiring inspections.
The number of inspections performed by DEP staff has also increased from 7,876 in 2010-11 to 12,660 in 2012-13, according to the most recent State Performance Report.
The final regulations must now be reviewed by the Senate and House Environmental Resources and Energy Committees and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission.For more information, visit the Environmental Quality Board webpage.