Bill Introduced to Fix PA DEP’s Extreme Delays Issuing Permits

Last year the pressure was intense to pass a severance tax in Pennsylvania to help fill a budget gap. The severance tax issue in PA is a political football–a promise made by current Gov. Tom Wolf to pay off teacher’s unions in Philadelphia for voting him into office. During the budget machinations, traitorous Republicans in the PA Senate caved to pressure and in July passed a budget bill that hikes taxes on lots of things, including a severance tax (see Traitorous PA Senate Republicans Pass Severance Tax Bill). As part of the Senate’s misguided and mangled budget bill, Republicans slipped in fixes to the state Dept. of Environmental Protection’s chronic delays in issuing permits related to shale drilling (see PA Senate’s “Olive Branch” of “Relaxed Regulations” for Drillers). As we said at the time, the writing was already on the wall–Democrats would lobby to remove the DEP fix and leave the severance tax. The DEP fix (surprisingly) continued in further revisions to the budget plan–until October, when the DEP fixes came out (see Latest PA Budget Bill Drops Fix for Slow DEP Permit Reviews). Although the fix came out, the severance tax came out too and was never passed (thank God for small miracles). But problems remain for Marcellus drillers. Delays are long in the Keystone State when it comes to permits for shale wells. The problems need to get fixed. So PA House Rep. Greg Rothman (Republican from Cumberland County) has just introduced a standalone bill to fix the problem. Predictably, enviro nuts and Democrats are lining up to oppose the fix…

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