Republican End-Run Around DEP Drilling Regs Probably Doomed

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Despite Tom Wolf’s veto the first time around, legislative Republicans are vowing to try once again to use the Fiscal Code to carve conventional oil and gas drillers out of the official process for creating new Marcellus Shale drilling regulations, reports Dave Hess:

Senate and House Republicans sent a Fiscal Code bill– Senate Bill 655 (Browne-R-Lehigh)– to the Governor that invalidates the regulations DEP proposed to ensure conventional oil and gas wells protect the environment and makes DEP start the process over.

Gov. Wolf this week vetoed the entire Republican budget, including Senate Bill 655, but House Republicans said they would continue to fight for the provision killing DEP’s regulations in “round two.”

The language said the process used by DEP to propose the regulations was “invalid” with respect to conventional wells, but the language could be interpreted to also apply to unconventional (Marcellus Shale) wells since they both used the same process stopping that process as well.

To override Wolf’s veto, they’d need to get two-thirds of the state House. Republicans control 120 of the 203 seats, so they’d need 16 Democrats to cross party lines to get the 136 they need for the veto override.

In the state Senate, where Republicans have 30 of the 50 seats, they’d need 4 Democrats to sell out to get to two-thirds.

If this were a standalone bill, it’s conceivable the gas industry could find the votes, but this gambit is part of a bigger package of Republican Fiscal Code changes that’s not going to get two-thirds, so it’s probably going down.

Even though Tom Wolf probably has our back here, make sure to thank him for vetoing it, and also fill out this form to tell your Democratic Rep to hold strong and support the team on this.

This entry was posted in Budget, Energy, Environment, Issues.

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