Monday, February 23, 2015

Can Wolf's DEP meet gas drilling rules rewrite deadline?

David Conti
reported yesterday in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
New faces in the governor's office, changes in the makeup of two advisory boards and a series of delayed meetings will not derail Pennsylvania's largest rewrite of environmental rules for gas and oil drilling since the shale era began, the industry's top state regulator promises.
“That is a failure. That is bad government,” Scott Perry, deputy secretary for oil and gas at the Department of Environmental Protection, said about the potential of missing a March 2016 deadline, which would require starting over. “We are not going to fail.”
Recent moves by the DEP and changes to proposed rules that will require a new round of public comment don't inspire the same confidence among the industries targeted by the rules, though.
“I do have some concerns. I think it will be tough to hit that deadline,” said Lou D'Amico, president of the Marshall-based Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association.
The DEP last week moved to replace the five long-serving members of its Technical Advisory Board, which helps the department review oil and gas regulations, when it sent names of candidates to Gov. Tom Wolf for his consideration. Perry declined to identify the nominees.
Current members were waiting to be told whether their service is still wanted.
“No other administration has really touched the makeup of the board,” said Gary Slagel, the government relations coordinator at the Cecil office of the law firm Steptoe & Johnson who has served on the board since 1989.
Perry said the department wants new members focused solely on shale drilling since it announced last week the formation of a board for advice on rules for conventional oil and gas drilling.

Read the full story here  


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