The House Wednesday passed Senate Bill 279 (Hutchinson-R-Venango) requiring DEP to start over to update its drilling regulations covering conventional oil and gas wells by a vote of 141 to 46.
The bill now returns to the Senate for a concurrence vote. The Senate Rules Committee has already scheduled a meeting on the bill for Wednesday.
The bill language is the result of an agreement between Senate and House Republicans and Gov. Wolf.
The bill does not affect DEP’s final Chapter 78a regulations updating requirements covering Marcellus/Utica Shale natural gas drilling. Those regulations will be allowed to proceed through the remaining process to final publication in the PA Bulletin and become effective.
On Tuesday, Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) proposed, then withdrew, an amendment taken from House Bill 1391 (Everett) that would have required oil and gas companies to pay leaseholders the minimum royalty amount they are owed by state law.
Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware), Minority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, offered two amendments, the primary one to eliminate the provision making DEP start over on setting updated standards for conventional drilling operations. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 55 to 140.
A House Fiscal Note and summary is available.
The House is also expected to give final approval to Senate Bill 1195 (White-R-Indiana) further providing for legislative review of any plan developed by DEP to implement the EPA Clean Power Climate Plan yet today.
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