On July 11, the Pennsylvania Senate passed a bill that would roll back some of the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP’s) recently-approved regulations for unconventional oil and natural gas drilling. By a 41-7 vote, the Senate passed an amended version of SB 1229 limiting DEP authority to regulate well restoration, oil and gas waste reporting, and water storage.
Under SB 1229, operators would have until 24 months after the last well is completed to restore a well site as opposed to the nine month timeframe for well restoration under the DEP’s rules. The bill also seeks to decrease the frequency of production and waste disposal reports from monthly to twice per year. Finally, the Senate bill would also prevent the DEP from establishing standards for storage of freshwater used for oil and gas that are stricter than standards for freshwater used for other purposes. Pennsylvania’s Governors opposes SB 1229 and has vowed to veto it if it reaches his desk.