New Bill Would Goose PA DEP to Approve Drilling Permits Faster

Pennsylvania State Rep. Jason Ortitay, Republican who represents of Washington and Allegheny counties in southwestern PA, last week introduced PA House Bill (HB) 1003 which would require the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to compile, organize and list all permits related to oil and gas drilling in two places: in one location in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, and on the DEP website. At first blush this seemed a bit odd to us. In the past MDN published a research report called the Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook. In producing that work, MDN editor Jim Willis would regularly (3x per year) access DEP permit data–which is available from the DEP website. Granted, the information is not the easiest to find, and when you locate it, you must download it and suck it into a database to get any meaningful value out of it. However, on a basic level, permit data IS available to the public from the DEP website–right now. We read a copy of the proposed bill (see it below). MDN’s takeaway after reading the bill: This bill has more to do with “encouraging” the DEP to speed up permit approvals than it does with making information publicly available…

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