HARRISBURG – Working to ensure the survival of the state’s conventional oil and gas industries, Reps. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint), Kathy Rapp (R-Warren) and Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk) will soon introduce legislation requiring separate regulations for conventional and unconventional drilling operations.
“Conventional drilling is, without question, far different than drilling in the Marcellus Shale, and it simply makes no sense to apply the same standards to these operations,” Causer said. “Regulations being proposed because of Marcellus drilling could easily put the state’s smaller producers out of business, and that would be devastating to our rural areas where these businesses provide good, family-sustaining jobs.”
Rapp agreed, “The bureaucrats who write these regulations have demonstrated a serious lack of understanding about how shallow well drilling differs from drilling in the Marcellus, and that could have dire consequences for our local producers and the thousands of people they employ. Requiring separate regulations is a necessary step to ensure the future of the conventional oil and gas industries.”
The legislation the lawmakers plan to introduce would direct the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to separate the drilling, alteration, operation and plugging regulations for unconventional gas wells from those regulations applicable to conventional oil and gas wells in the Commonwealth.
“We are committed to ensuring the future success of our small oil and gas producers,” Gabler said. “By requiring separate sets of regulations, we can be sure both conventional and unconventional drillers continue to be held to the highest standards while not burdening the small shallow well drillers with regulatory requirements that are not necessary, feasible or affordable for their operations.”
Last fall, hundreds of oil and gas producers met at the Drake Well Museum in Titusville – the birthplace of the modern petroleum industry – to call attention to the threat the proposed regulations pose to the 150-year-old industry. During the event, which was organized by the Pennsylvania Independent Petroleum Producers (PIPP), many spoke about how the regulations could increase their operating costs or decrease their production to the point they may have to shutter their operations.
The lawmakers expect the bill to be referred to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee once it is introduced.