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Fiscal Code: Not so much for unconventional drilling

While one letter has made it seem like drillers in the Marcellus Shale formation will be receiving a “gift” from the GOP in an amendment to the Fiscal Code Bill, the truth is this couldn’t be further from what the amendment will actually do.

The writers of the July 10th letter “GOP Lawmakers Would Give Gas Drillers a Gift,” made it seem as if conventional and unconventional drilling operations in the Marcellus will benefit from the amendment being made to the Fiscal Code Bill.  However, the truth is that the amendment only refers to conventional oil and gas operations.

State Representative Martin Causer, R-Harrisburg, explained how conventional drilling operations are “smaller, shallow well drillers that have been operating in the northern tier of the commonwealth for well over a century.”  According to Causer, the amendment the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has drafted for the Fiscal Code for the Marcellus, which is an unconventional shale formation, drilling operations are not applicable to conventional drilling and only threatens the future of the oil and natural gas industry.

As stated by Causer, “Last year, the General Assembly passed a law requiring the DEP to separate regulations for the two types of drilling, but the agency has effectively ignored the will of the elected representatives of this commonwealth by simply giving the two sets of regulations different names.”

Due to the DEP ignoring the fact that there are two different types of drilling and the need for two different sets of regulations, the General Assembly is “seeking legislation that would force DEP to go back to the drawing board for conventional oil and gas regulation.”  While the process for Marcellus regulations will continue as scheduled, conventional drillers will continue to follow the current regulations, which have regulated the industry for more than three decades.

To conclude his opinion, Causer left with the following:

DEP’s effort to overregulate this industry benefits no one but instead threatens to kill an industry that provides quality, family-sustaining jobs for tens of thousands of people.

State Rep. Martin Causer, R-Harrisburg, represents the 67th Legislative District (Cameron, McKean and Potter counties).

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