Last Minute Change in PA Budget Stops DEP’s New Drilling Rules

How can we put this gingerly? Pennsylvania Democrats (and Democrats in general) like to do the screwing, but they don’t like to get screwed. That about sums up what’s happening with the Pennsylvania budget and some last minute legislation slipped into a budget-related bill that will tie the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection’s hands on proposed new drilling rules. The 2012 Act 13 law required the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to update sections of the older 1984 PA Oil & Gas Act (see Rewrite of 1984 PA Oil and Gas Act Underway). That process was pretty much done and dusted under PA Gov. Tom Corbett. But then Tom Wolf won the governor’s race and installed John Quigley to head up the DEP. Quigley re-opened a closed process to change drilling rules for both conventional and unconventional (shale) drillers (see PA DEP Sec Quigley Pulls a Fast One, Changes Drilling Rules). That is, Quigley did some screwing of the drilling industry. Over the weekend the PA House introduced and passed an amendment that would require the DEP to go back and start over with respect the rules they plan to adopt. That is, Quigley has now gotten screwed. And he doesn’t like it…

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