PA House and Senate Panels Vote to Reject DEP’s New Drilling Regs

PA DEPYesterday the Pennsylvania State House and Senate energy committees voted to disapprove the state Dept. of Environmental Protection’s proposed new Article 78 and 78a drilling rules. In February when the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB) approved the new regulations after those regs were vigorously opposed by conventional drillers in the state, the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association (PIOGA) blasted the decision calling the DEP “deceptive” (see PA Board Adopts New Drilling Regs, PIOGA Blasts DEP “Deceptive”). The Pennsylvania Independent Petroleum Producers Association (PIPP) filed a lawsuit on March 24, 2016, in the Commonwealth court of Pennsylvania challenging the legality of controversial new regulations (see PA Conventional Drillers File Lawsuit to Stop New DEP Regulations). The fight has now gone to the legislature, which has some, but not ultimate, authority to derail the new regulations. Yesterday the legislature used that authority when the energy committees for both houses voted to not approve the new regs. What happens next? The state’s the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) will review the new regs on April 21 and make a decision about whether to approve them or not…

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