PA House Advances “Fix DEP & Other Agencies” Plan with 5 Bills

As part of the Pennsylvania Senate’s misguided and mangled budget bill last year, Republicans managed to slip in fixes to the state Dept. of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) chronic delays in issuing permits related to shale drilling (see PA Senate’s “Olive Branch” of “Relaxed Regulations” for Drillers). Unfortunately the fixes came out before the final budget passed. 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, now. In early January, PA House Rep. Greg Rothman introduced a standalone bill to address the problem (see Bill Introduced to Fix PA DEP’s Extreme Delays Issuing Permits). Rothman’s bill, House Bill (HB) 1959, would give certified third parties the right to review and force the DEP to issue permits when/if the DEP can’t get off it’s duff and do it in a timely manner. Not long after Rothman’s bill was introduced, a second bill was introduced, by State Rep. Brian Ellis (see New Bill Would Force PA DEP to Work WITH the Marcellus Industry). Ellis’ bill, HB 1960, is called the “State Agency Regulatory Compliance Officer Act” and will create a new Regulatory Compliance Officer position in each state agency, including the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). The new Compliance Officer would have the authority “to block an agency from imposing fines and penalties for violations and to rewrite the policies under which fines and penalties are imposed.” The aim of the bill is to force all PA state agencies (including the DEP) to work *with* the people and companies they regulate, rather than play gotcha. Those two bills, plus three more, are part of a suite of bills being offered by the PA House “Common Sense Caucus.” The Caucus, headed by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, released a report yesterday called the 2017-18 Regulatory Overreach Report (full copy below). The report gives examples of egregious regulatory overreach and proposes five bills, including HB 1959 and HB 1960, to fix the problem. Note the Caucus is not just picking on DEP with this proposed fix–they ambitiously want to make all state agencies work better…

Please Login to view this content. (Not a member? Join Today!)
You do not have permission to view the comments.

Please Login to post a comment