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September 02, 2015
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PA legislation could trade community control for drilling fees

“Since 1984, Section 602 of the Oil and Gas Act has superseded local ordinances as they relate to oil and gas operations,” he wrote. “However, several recent court decisions have interpreted Section 602 to allow varying and inconsistent standards across the Commonwealth (Huntley & Huntley, Inc. v. Borough Council of Borough of Oakmont and Penneco Oil Company, Inc. v. County of Fayette). My proposed amendments to Section 602 of the Oil and Gas Act reaffirm and reinforce the original legislative intent of the law.

“The enactment of a reasonable, consistent and uniform set of rules across the Commonwealth as it relates to oil and gas drilling boils down to advancing our number one shared focus…jobs.

“There are job creators well down the supply chain in the Marcellus Shale industry who are waiting to see if Pennsylvania will enact predicable and uniform standards before making capital investments in the Commonwealth. I do not want to make these job creators, nor these potential capital investments, wait any longer.”

Meanwhile, as reported in “PA Environment Digest,” the PA State Association of Township Supervisors joined with the County Commissioners Association of PA, the PA State Association of Boroughs, the PA League of Cities and Municipalities, the PA Municipal Authorities Association, and the PA Association of Township Commissioners in detailing how the existing proposal would impact local governments and local communities.

In a joint memo to members of the House of Representatives, the groups made clear their opposition to the bill and also proposed revisions establishing uniform regulations while maintaining some decision-making ability at the local level.

As of this posting, the legislation was on the Senate Calendar and in position for a final vote. The House has begun considering more than 100 amendments to their version of the legislation.