PA Senate Approves Bill Tweaking DEP Chapter 78a Shale Regs

vetoPA’s very liberal Governor, Tom Wolf, has been obstinate in demanding onerous new drilling rules for the conventional, as well as unconventional (shale) drilling industry since he took office. Reworked drilling rules were done and ready to go under previous Governor, Tom Corbett. Then Corbett lost to Wolf, and Wolf demanded to change common sense rules everyone had already agreed to (see New Draft Drilling Regulations in PA: Wastewater Impoundments Out). It became obvious that Democrats were trying to run PA’s traditional, small conventional drillers out of business by applying the same regulations to them that will apply to shale drillers. The Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association (PIOGA) represents many of those small conventional drillers and vigorously fought back (see PIOGA Turns Up the Heat on Wolf/Quigley Over TAB/Chapter 78 and PA Board Adopts New Drilling Regs, PIOGA Blasts DEP “Deceptive”). In the end, Wolf’s own Democrat Party legislators in the House and Senate abandoned him and the writing was on the wall: The entire package of drilling rules, for both conventional (Chapter 78) and shale (Chapter 78a) was headed for defeat. The legislature was about to repeal both sets of newly-minted DEP rules–so Wolf pivoted and decided to accept half a loaf–passage of the shale rules, Chapter 78a (see Wolf Really Didn’t Wise Up, He Just Took Half a Loaf re Drilling Regs). However, shale drillers still wanted some changes to Chapter 78a regulations, and yesterday the PA Senate voted to approve a bill that would tweak Chapter 78a rules, setting up another confrontation with Wolf and a threatened veto…

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