Saturday, June 4, 2022

Senate Committee Meets June 8 On Bills To Change Erosion & Sedimentation Permitting For Oil & Gas Activities, Deep Mine Safety Requirements

Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to meet June 8 on legislation to change the erosion and sedimentation permitting requirements for conventional and unconventional oil and gas activities, deep mine safety requirements and other bills.

The bills include--

-- Senate Bill 692 (Bartolotta-R-Washington) would establish erosion and sedimentation permit requirements in law under the mistaken notion DEP’s existing permit is not based on existing statutory authority which it is-- the Oil and Gas Act, the Clean Streams Law and other provisions of law.

Among other provisions, the bill makes a significant change to the threshold of when the permit is required.  Existing regulations require a permit for activities that involve earth disturbance of five acres or more over the life of the project.

The legislation says a permit will only be required for earth disturbance of five acres or more at one time..

The existing permit also requires operators to get a permit for an oil and gas well before commencing earth disturbance activities.  There is no requirement like that in the legislation.

The legislation does not address the common problem where half the erosion and sedimentation permit applications submitted by consultants and engineers are incomplete and take six weeks or more to respond to deficiencies outlined in permit reviews.  Read more here.

The legislation also does not address the significant problem of unconventional shale gas companies not using 40 percent of the permits they are issued by DEP that wastes staff time and resources at the agency for no purpose.  Read more here.

-- Senate Bill 1255 (Pittman-R-Indiana) would change Pennsylvania’s Deep Mine Safety Program to replace the oil and filter on all diesel-powered equipment used in underground coal mining every 100 hours at the request of the mine operator.

-- Senate Resolution 285 (Gordner-R-Columbia) would direct the Joint State Government Commission to conduct an assessment and analysis of public and private recycling infrastructure and operations across the state (sponsor summary). [Note: PA Resources Council, partners announced a plan last week to modernize recycling in Pennsylvania. Read more here.]

-- House Bill 2075 (Knowles-R-Schuylkill) would suspend DEP’s regulations setting heavy-duty diesel emissions standards based on California standards. A companion bill-- Senate Bill 1030 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) was passed by the Senate in April.  [Note: DEP already did this in November 2021 allowing federal standards to remain in place. Read more here.]

The meeting will be held in Room 461 Main Capitol starting at 9:30 a.m.  Click Here to watch online.

Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) serves as Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-787-3280 or sending email to:   Sen. Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-5709 or sending email to:

(Photo: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)

Related Articles:

-- DEP Budget Hearing: Unconventional Natural Gas Industry Didn’t Drill 40% Of The Wells It Had DEP Permits For

-- PA Resources Council, Partners, Local Officials Announce Plan To Reduce Waste, Modernize Recycling In Pennsylvania

Related Articles This Week:

-- Who Is Protecting Taxpayers?  House Committee Meets June 7 On Bills To Preempt Any Increase In Conventional Oil & Gas Well Bonding Amounts, Give Away Plugging Contracts With No Regard For Cost    [PaEN]

-- Senate Committee Meets June 7 On Bill To Prohibit Communities From Moving To Clean, Cheaper Energy Sources To Address Climate Change  [PaEN]

-- House Environmental Committee Hearing June 13 On MS4 Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program  [PaEN]

[Posted: June 4, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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