The 17-member PA Grade Crude Development Advisory Council was created by Act 52 on June 23 to, among other duties, advise the Department of Environmental Protection in the restart of its process to update regulations covering conventional drilling operations.
Act 52 also killed the final conventional drilling regulations DEP had been working on for 5 years.
Not all of the members of the Council have been appointed in the last 5 months and no meetings are scheduled.
The Department of Community and Economic Development, where the Council is housed, is still awaiting responses from several individuals on their appointment to the Council.
Four appointments have been made or accepted so far--
-- House Speaker: Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron);
-- Senate President Pro Tempore: Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango);
-- Mark Cline of Cline Oil and Pennsylvania Independent Petroleum Producers, will represent University of Pittsburgh at Bradford (source); and
-- Bob Esch, vice president of external affairs at American Refining Group, will represent ARG (source).
Council appointees and members include--
-- Secretary of Community and Economic Development
-- Secretary of Environmental Protection
-- 2 Members appointed by the Senate President Pro Tempore, Senate Minority Leader
-- 2 Members appointed by the House Speaker, House Minority Leader
-- Members appointed by the Governor--
-- 2 Members from the PA Independent Petroleum Producers
-- 2 Members from the PA Independent Oil and Gas Association
-- 2 Members from the PA Grade Crude Oil Coalition
-- 2 Members from refineries of PA grade crude oil
-- 1 Member of a nonprofit groups promoting the history and economic benefits of the conventional oil and gas industry in the Commonwealth
-- 1 Member of academia with expertise in petroleum geology
-- 1 Member of academia who is a hydrologist
There are no pubic or environmental group members of the Council.
Meetings of the Council are called only by the Chair elected by members of the Council, not as a joint decision by the Chair and the agencies involved like most other advisory groups.
In addition to being consulted by DEP in the development of regulations and technical guidance covering conventional drilling operations, the Council’s other responsibilities include--
-- Explore the development of a regulatory scheme that provides for environmental oversight and enforcement specifically applicable to the conventional oil and gas industry.
-- Promote the long-term viability of the conventional oil and gas industry.
-- Assist the Secretary of Environmental Protection with and provide written comments on new departmental policy that will impact the conventional oil and gas industry, including economic consequences.
-- Provide institutional support for the conventional oil and gas industry of this Commonwealth by ensuring effective cooperation and communication among governmental agencies and the academic and research community.
-- Recommend appropriate measures relating to the promotion and development of the conventional oil and gas industry of this Commonwealth.
-- Develop a plan to increase Pennsylvania grade crude oil production in an environmentally responsible way to more adequately supply the refineries which depend on Pennsylvania grade crude oil.
-- Develop a joint working group with the department to explore and develop an environmentally responsible and economically viable production water management option.
A copy of Act 52 is available online.(Photo: PA Independent Petroleum Producers.)