Copy of Statement:
The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) is very concerned that the General Assembly is pulling an end run of its own rules by including language fundamentally changing the regulation of oil and gas operations via the Fiscal Code, which accompanies the state budget. This language has not yet been considered by either the full Senate or House. John Walliser (Vice President, Legal & Government Affairs for PEC) issued the following statement:
“Inclusion of language requiring the alteration of regulations for conventional oil and gas wells in the Fiscal Code is an affront to transparency and the legislative process. Legislation has been introduced in both the Senate and House toward this objective, but neither has passed its respective chamber. There has not yet been adequate consideration of this language, nor sufficient time for public input. Conventional oil and gas well regulation is not a budgetary issue – it’s a public trust and protection issue. The Pennsylvania Environmental Council opposes any such action by the General Assembly, and we call on its members and the Governor to reject it.”
There is currently legislation in both the Pennsylvania Senate (Senate Bill 1378) and House of Representatives (House Bill 2350) that would require promulgation of different regulations across all environmental laws for conventional and unconventional oil & gas operations. Neither bill has been up for a full chamber vote.
The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) currently opposes this legislation as it fails to properly account for necessary safeguards based on well design, siting, and techniques. The legislation also leaves uncertain whether conventional wells would be fully exempt from regulation until new guidance is developed and approved via the Environmental Quality Board.