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Causer Bill to Address Conventional Oil and Gas Industry Oversight Earns House Approval
HARRISBURG – Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) today applauded House passage of his legislation to ensure reasonable, responsible oversight of the conventional oil and gas industry that will both protect the environment and ensure the 160-year-old industry can grow and thrive in the Commonwealth.

“The conventional oil and gas industry has long been a cornerstone of the economy in my district and areas across the northern tier, providing thousands of good, family-sustaining jobs,” Causer said. “This bill will help preserve those jobs by removing the threat of unreasonable and unnecessary regulations from the backs of our conventional producers in favor of rules that are relevant and appropriate to these shallow well operations.”

Watch Rep. Causer’s comments during debate on the House floor.

House Bill 2154 would enact an updated Oil and Gas Act similar to one that governed the conventional oil and gas industry prior to the passage of Act 13 of 2012 and remains in effect today. The bill includes several regulatory updates and would serve as the framework for future changes to rules impacting the conventional industry. It would not change any of the regulations currently in place for unconventional drilling.

The bill is the latest step in a years-long fight to stop the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from applying regulations intended to address unconventional, deep-well drilling in the Marcellus Shale to the very different process of conventional, shallow well drilling.

“The lack of understanding by many bureaucrats about the vast differences between the types of drilling has really put our conventional operators at risk,” Causer said. “It is extremely frustrating, especially given the good stewardship long practiced by conventional producers. They live in the communities where their wells are located, breathing the same air and drinking the same water as everyone else. They clearly have a vested interest in doing things right.”

The legislation was developed in large part by members of the Penn Grade Crude Development Advisory Council, which was created by Act 52 of 2016 to advise and assist DEP with regulatory changes impacting the conventional industry.

The council is also directed to develop a plan to increase production of Pennsylvania grade crude oil to more adequately supply refineries, such as American Refining Group, and look at ways to promote the long-term viability of the conventional oil and gas industry. Causer is one of 17 members of the council, which also includes representatives from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

In addition to regulation of conventional wells, House Bill 2154 also would boost the plugging of orphan wells and grant DEP the authority to issue permits to allow municipalities to use brine for dust control, road stabilization, anti-icing and de-icing.

The bill passed by a vote of 111-84 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Martin T. Causer
67th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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