PA Senate’s “Olive Branch” of “Relaxed Regulations” for Drillers

As part of the horrible severance tax bill the Pennsylvania Senate passed yesterday (see today’s companion story), Republican Senators placed into the bill what they hope is “an olive branch” (more like a withered twig) by including reforms to the regulatory process they say the drilling industry has been asking for. Senators included a provision to have third party contractors (people outside of the Dept. of Environmental Protection) review applications at the DEP, including permits for oil and gas drilling, when the DEP can’t review those applications in a timely manner. There’s also a provision that certain permits, like those granted to drillers for sediment and erosion, will automatically be granted if the DEP drags its feet and doesn’t grant the permit by the current, specified deadline (45 days, with a possible 15 day extension). Those permits are currently taking up to 200 days to be granted. Enough. If the DEP can’t get it done, the permit gets granted automatically or goes to someone on the outside who can get it done. There are other provisions in the severance tax bill as well. Of course these proposed changes have antis in an uproar. You see, “compromise” for antis and Democrats means “you do it all our way, and we give you nothing in return.” That Republicans actually want something in return for voting for a horrible tax bill is beyond belief for antis, who are now squealing like stuck pigs. Here’s what we’ve been able to find out about the proposed changes, the “olive branch” offered by traitorous Republicans, as part of the newly passed severance tax bill…

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