The state Senate voted Monday to approve an amendment that would undo parts of the state’s pending oil and gas regulations.
SB 1229 is now in the House. The bill was introduced in May and initially pertained to horse breeding. However, an amendment approved Monday restricts state environmental regulators from implementing some of their proposed regulations for Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale industry—known as Chapter 78a—which are currently under review at the Attorney General’s office.
It’s the most recent maneuver in a protracted battle between Governor Tom Wolf’s administration and the Republican-led legislature over the proposed rules. Last month, it seemed a detente had been reached, when Wolf signed a bill that tossed out half the regulatory package—eliminating the rules for the conventional oil and gas industry.
This new amendment, put forward by Sen. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Allegheny) bars the state Department of Environmental Protection from making drillers submit waste reports more than twice a year, which is the current requirement. The DEP is seeking monthly waste reports, after large discrepancies between what landfills and drillers reported were uncovered by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Another provision gives drillers 24 months before they have to start restoring a drilling site—longer than the 9 months currently required. A third section prohibits the DEP from setting standards for freshwater storage impoundments related to oil and gas development that are more stringent than those required for other industries and activities.