Friday, April 29, 2016

Republican Budget Amendment Would Use DEP Personnel Money To Help Industry Review DEP Drilling Regs

A budget amendment filed by Rep. Cris Dush (R-Indiana) would allocate $600,000 in taxpayer money to DEP’s Marcellus Shale oil and gas advisory committee to pay for legal and consulting experts to review drilling regulation changes proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection.
The amendment to House Bill 1999 would give the money to DEP’s Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board directly to hire “outside independent legal counsel and other experts determined by the Advisory Board in its review and response to proposed and final rulemakings and other matters brought before the Advisory Board for its consideration.”
Rep. Dush proposes taking the money from an appropriation paying DEP Environmental Protection personnel costs.
DEP’s Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board is a 5 member advisory group made up of unconventional drilling industry representatives.  In addition, the Wolf Administration added 3 non-voting members to the Board in 2015.
The Board submitted extensive comments on the final DEP drilling regulations, but did not oppose them.
DEP’s Conventional Oil and Gas Advisory Committee also submitted extensive comments on the final drilling regulations and urged DEP to start the process over again.
A copy of the budget amendment is available online.
The first votes on the FY 2016-17 General Fund budget bill are tentatively scheduled for next week.
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