PA Senate Bill 307 – Provides for independent counsel for the Environmental Quality Board
Sponsor: John T. Yudichak (Democrat – Carbon County and part of Luzerne County [northeast Pennsylvania])
Overview: Requires the Department of Environmental Protection to appoint independent counsel for the benefit of the Environmental Quality Board (“EQB”).
Independent counsel shall assist EQB on all matters, “including, but not limited to, the review of rulemaking petitions submitted to the [EQB], the drafting and development of amendments to proposed and final rulemaking and advice relating to procedural matters.”
Provides that discussions between independent counsel and EQB are privileged.
Current Status: Reported unanimously out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 15, 2015.

 

PA House Bill 1099    Provides for independent counsel for the Environmental Quality Board
Sponsor: John Maher (Republican – parts of Allegheny and Washington Counties [outside Pittsburgh])
Overview: Requires the Department of Environmental Protection to appoint independent counsel for the benefit of the Environmental Quality Board (“EQB”).Independent counsel shall assist EQB on all matters, “including, but not limited to, the review of rulemaking petitions submitted to the [EQB], the drafting and development of amendments to proposed and final rulemaking and advice relating to procedural matters.”

Provides that discussions between independent counsel and EQB are privileged.

Amendments: Printer’s Number 1755:Changes scope of privilege; as amended, bill would provide that “[a]ll communication between the independent counsel and a board member shall be subject to the attorney-client privilege consistent with the rules of professional conduct.”
Current Status: Printer’s Number 1755 passed by House of Representatives (160-28) on June 10, 2015.AmendPrinter’s Number 1755 referred to Senate Committee on Environmental Resources and Energy on June 12, 2015.

 

PA House Bill 1321    Natural Gas Severance Tax
Sponsor: Gene DiGiorlamo (Republican – part of Bucks County [outside Philadelphia])
Overview: Extensive natural gas severance tax bill imposing a tax of (1) “[f]our and nine-tenths percent of the gross value of the dry natural gas derived from the natural gas severed as shown by the gross proceeds derived from the sale by the producer,” and (2) “[f]our and nine-tenths percent of the gross value of the natural gas liquids derived from the natural gas severed as shown by the gross proceeds derived from the sale by the producer.”Sets a price floor of $2.97 per unit for purposes of calculating tax.

Prohibits producer from making the tax an obligation of the landowner or leaseholder.

Requires every producer to obtain a license from the Department of Revenue (“Department”) “before severing natural gas from this Commonwealth.”

Imposes criminal penalties for severing gas without a license from the Department.

Does not repeal or alter the Impact Fee, meaning that both the Impact Fee and the Severance Tax are payable by producers.

Alters distribution scheme for Impact Fee revenue.

Current Status: Referred to the House Committee on Environmental Resources and Energy on June 11, 2015.

 

PA House Resolution 388      Accounting of Marcellus Legacy Fund
Sponsor: Kate Harper (Republican – part of Montgomery County [outside Philadelphia])
Overview: Directs House Legislative Budget & Finance Committee to report on expenditures and distributions made from the Marcellus Legacy Fund, which receives 40% of the revenue collected under the Commonwealth’s Unconventional Gas Well Fund.
Current Status: Referred to the House Committee on Environmental Resources and Energy on June 12, 2015.