Causer, Committee Vote to Disapprove Oil, Gas Regulations

HARRISBURG – On a motion by Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint), the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee today voted to disapprove proposed regulations impacting the oil and gas industry.

“The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) have ignored the law and violated several aspects of the rulemaking process in putting these regulations together,” Causer said. “That process has resulted in a series of unreasonable regulations that fail to recognize the vast differences between conventional and unconventional drilling and, in fact, threaten the future of the 150-year-old conventional industry.

“I am pleased a bipartisan majority of the committee agreed, by a vote of 19-7, to disapprove the regulations, and I hope the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) follows suit,” he added.

IRRC is set to consider the regulations next week.

Watch Rep. Causer’s explanation of the committee’s action here:

Among the concerns cited by Causer and other members of the committee is the violation of Act 126 of 2014, which required the development of separate regulations for the conventional and unconventional oil and gas industries. To comply with the law, DEP should have re-started the process. Instead, the agency made a clerical change and proceeded with the regulations.

“Requiring the smaller, conventional operators to follow regulations similar to large-scale unconventional operators is unnecessary from an environmental protection standpoint,” Causer said. “It is also unaffordable, potentially costing thousands of people across northcentral Pennsylvania their livelihood.”

The regulatory process also violated the Regulatory Review Act’s requirements related to small businesses by failing to include an economic impact statement or a “description of any less intrusive or less costly alternative methods of achieving the purpose of the proposed regulation.”

DEP and EQB also disregarded votes of disapproval by the Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board and the Conventional Oil and Gas Advisory Committee, which was created by the Wolf administration.

“These regulations are another example of bureaucrats overreaching their authority and ignoring the will of the elected Legislature,” Causer said. “No one is saying the oil and gas industry should not be regulated; in fact, it is heavily regulated now. But the regulations must be done in a manner that balances our environmental protection efforts with economic realities and the demand for domestic energy sources.”

The committee’s vote on Tuesday is another step in the state’s regulatory process. The next step will occur on Thursday, April 21, when IRRC considers the regulations. IRRC is charged with reviewing regulations to make certain that an agency has the statutory authority to enact the regulation and determine whether the regulation is consistent with legislative intent. IRRC then considers other criteria, such as economic impact, public health and safety, reasonableness, impact on small businesses and clarity.

Video of the entire committee meeting is available at  RepCauser.com. Click on the “video” tab from the left navigation bar.

Posted by on Apr 13 2016. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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