Pa. board passes updates to oil and gas drilling regulations

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completed shale well
Drilled shale well in Pennsylvania.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB), an independent board responsible for adopting environmental regulations, passed the revisions to the oil and gas drilling regulations by a vote of 15 to 4.

The rulemaking updates the environmental controls employed by both the conventional and unconventional industries. In addressing surface activities at well sites, the board says the amendments improve protection of water resources, add public resources considerations, protect public health and safety, address landowner concerns, enhance transparency, and improve data management.

Industry opposition

Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association President Louis D. D’Amico, however, voice strong objections to the board’s adoption of the final oil and natural gas regulations. In a prepared statement, he called the process of developing the regs “an exercise in deception, misinformation and disregard of the law by the Department of Environmental Protection that escalated under Gov. Wolf.”

“DEP has offered no legitimate explanation for applying the provisions of Act 13 intended for the unconventional industry to conventional oil and gas producers,” the statement continued.

The industry association decried the EQB’s decision not to vote separately on the conventional and unconventional rulemakings, which D’Amico said was required by Act 126 of 2014. He said the regulations will “stifle energy production in Pennsylvania.”

The rules will now be delivered to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission and the House and Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committees for review.

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