The following bill, which had been introduced previously, has been acted upon by the General Assembly since the last Legislative Activity Update:

PA House Bill 1327 – Amendments to Fiscal Code

Sponsor: Michael Peifer (Republican – parts of Pike and Wayne Counties [northeast Pennsylvania])
Overview:

Original bill

(Printer’s Number 1788) was unrelated to oil and gas.

Amendments:

House Bill 1327 became the vehicle to implement provisions of General Fund budget, most of which are unrelated to oil and gas development or regulation.  Provisions relevant to oil and gas development in each of the bill’s subsequent amended versions are listed below:

Printer’s Number 2650:

Natural Gas Infrastructure Development Fund (“Fund”) –

  • Establishes the Fund in the state treasury.
  • Reallocates $12 million from the Alternative Energy Investment Act to the Fund for the provision of grants to the following to obtain access to natural gas: hospitals, businesses, economic development organizations; municipalities; counties; and school districts.

Submission of State Plan for Green House Gas Regulation

  • Increases from 100 to 180 days the period for the General Assembly to review the plan developed by the Department of Environmental Protection (“Department”) prior to submission to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) under the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
  • Provides procedure in event General Assembly fails to approve plan proposed by Department.

Rulemaking Prohibition Related to Conventional Oil and Gas Wells

  • Amends Fiscal Code to prohibit Environmental Quality Board (“EQB”) from adopting or promulgating (i) a revision of 25 Pa. Code Ch. 78 (relating to oil and gas wells) applicable to the operation of conventional oil and gas wells, or (ii) a regulation applicable to the operation of conventional oil or gas wells.
  • Declares any rulemaking procedure concerning conventional oil and gas wells published after November 30, 2013, to be invalid and abrogated.
  • Permits EQB to conduct future rulemaking concerning conventional oil and gas wells so long as the rulemaking is accompanied by the submission of a regulatory analysis form prepared after the effective date of the bill.
  • This topic is also addressed by PA Senate Bill 1011.

Printer’s Number 2694:

Removes provisions in Printer’s Number 2650 related to oil and gas development.

Printer’s Number 2697:

Reinserts provisions in Printer’s Number 2650 related to oil and gas development as originally proposed.

Current Status: Printer’s Number 1788 passed unanimously by House of Representatives on November 17, 2015.
Printer’s Number 2650 reported out of Senate Appropriations Committee (25 to 1) on December 9, 2015.
Printer’s Number 2650 passed by Senate (48 to 2) on December 10, 2015.
Printer’s Number 2694 reported out of House Rules Committee (18 to 15) on December 21, 2015.
Printer’s Number 2697 reported out of House Rules Committee on December 22, 2015.

 

The following bill has been introduced since the last Legislative Activity Update:

 

PA Senate Bill 1092 – Permit Tracking and Notification Law

Sponsor: Elder A. Vogel, Jr. (Republican – Lawrence County and parts of Beaver and Butler Counties [north of Pittsburgh])
Overview: Requires Department of Environmental Protection (“Department”) to establish and maintain a secure website for permit applicants to track the status of permit applications.

Information on Department website must include: processing time provided for each permit; dates associated with receipt, completeness review, elevated review process (if necessary), and final permit decision; an estimate of the time remaining for each incomplete phase of the approval process; and identification of the application manager and appropriate contact information for Department staff.

Department shall provide electronic notifications to permit holders 60 days before the permit’s expiration date, as well as when there are changes in the statutes or regulations that affect the permit and permit fees that affect renewal of the permit.

Current Status: Referred to the Senate Committee on Environmental Resources and Energy on December 21, 2015.