House Committee OKs Plan to Separate Conventional, Unconventional Oil and Gas Operations, Say Lawmakers
HARRISBURG – Recognizing the significant differences between shallow well drilling and drilling in the Marcellus Shale, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee has approved legislation that would require the state to adopt separate regulations for the two distinct activities.
House Bill 2350, sponsored by Reps. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint), Kathy Rapp (R-Warren) and Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk), would direct the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to separate both existing and proposed regulations for the drilling, alteration, operation and plugging of unconventional gas wells and conventional oil and gas wells in the Commonwealth.
“When it comes to regulations, it’s very important to recognize the vast differences between conventional drilling and drilling in the Marcellus Shale,” Causer said. “Conventional wells are shallow and have significantly smaller well pads. Their overall impact on the surrounding environment is far less than that of deep, Marcellus wells. Both types of drilling will continue to be regulated under this bill, but by differentiating between the two, we can protect against overregulation that could eventually drive shallow well producers out of business.”
Rapp agreed. “I am very pleased we are moving this legislation forward for the sake of our shallow well producers and all of the people they employ. The industry has been operating in northwestern Pennsylvania for more than 150 years, and I would put the quality of our environment up against any other in the state.”
“The regulations being drafted now are exceedingly broad in an attempt to encompass both types of drilling,” Gabler said. “The development of separate regulations allows the Department of Environmental Protection to go back and look at both kinds of drilling and adopt something that is reasonable, relevant and realistic for each type of operation.”
The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.