General Assembly OKs Bill to Halt Implementation of New Conventional Oil, Gas Regulations, Causer Says
HARRISBURG – Legislation that would halt implementation of unnecessary and improperly drafted regulations that could be devastating to the conventional oil and gas industries has passed the state House and Senate and is on its way to the governor’s desk, said Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint).

Senate Bill 279 passed with a bipartisan vote of 141-46 in the House. The Wolf administration has indicated its support for the measure.

“The General Assembly and this administration not only recognize that we can’t we afford to regulate our conventional oil and gas producers out of business, but also that we don’t need to,” Causer said. “This industry has been regulated for decades, and along with our high volume of conventional wells in the Northern Tier, we also have some of the cleanest air and water in the Commonwealth.

“We can have a thriving oil and gas industry and protect the environment at the same time, and this bill will help us achieve that goal,” he continued. “Most of the conventional oil and gas producers in our region have been living and operating here for generations. They have the best interests of the community at heart.”

 Watch Rep. Causer’s remarks in favor of Senate Bill 279

Senate Bill 279 would abolish proposed regulations developed by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) after passage of Act 13 of 2012. The intent of the Legislature was that regulations resulting from Act 13 be directed solely toward deep, unconventional well drilling in places such as the Marcellus and Utica shales; however, DEP chose to apply them to both types of drilling.

Throughout the process, the agency failed to acknowledge the differences between the two types of drilling and then ignored a 2014 state law requiring it to keep regulations for conventional and unconventional wells entirely separate. Despite the deeply flawed process and violations of the state’s Regulatory Review Act, the regulations were approved by both the Environmental Quality Board and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission earlier this year, paving the way for their implementation.

“Putting a stop to these extreme and unnecessary regulations is vital to the future of the industry and the thousands of people it employs, as well as to our region’s economy,” Causer said. “It is also important to rein in this blatant example of regulatory overreach and ensure the integrity of the state’s regulatory process going forward.

“Elected representatives, not bureaucrats, are the ones who should be setting policy in this Commonwealth,” he added.

The bill also would create the Pennsylvania Grade Crude Development Advisory Council to advise and assist DEP in ensuring any future regulations affecting the conventional oil and gas industry are reasonable and reflect the characteristics and processes of shallow well drilling.

The council is also charged with making recommendations to promote the long-term viability and development of the conventional oil and gas industry, including a plan to responsibly increase Penn Grade Crude production to more adequately supply the refineries that depend upon it.

Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to sign Senate Bill 279 into law in the near future.

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

Media Contact: Patricia A. Hippler
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