Thursday, October 22, 2015

House Environmental Committee Postpones Meeting On DEP Drilling Regulations

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Thursday postponed its scheduled informational meeting on DEP’s proposed, final Chapter 78 & 78A drilling regulations on October 26 due to a serious illness in Rep. John Maher’s family.  Rep. Maher (R-Allegheny) serves as Majority Chair of the Committee.
The Committee had planned to hear from DEP Secretary John Quigley, and representatives of the oil and gas industry and at least one environmental group on the regulations.
During House and Senate budget hearings, Republican members expressed concern about DEP moving ahead with a proposed final version of the drilling regulations with only a limited comment period and the process used to finalize the regulations.
Republican members, and representatives of the conventional oil and gas drilling industry, also were concerned about the impact of the regulations DEP proposed for the conventional drilling industry.
The drilling industry has threatened several times to file a lawsuit against DEP on the process used to develop the regulations and move the to final action.
In September, Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) introduced Senate Bill 1011 to prohibit DEP and the Environmental Quality Board from finalizing and adopting the proposed, final Chapter 78 and 78A regulations.
DEP’s conventional and unconventional oil and gas advisory committees are set to review the drilling regulations for the second time next week.
Rep. Greg Vitali (R-Delaware) serves as Minority Chair.

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