Marcellus Minutes is a subscription-based newsletter sent to all subscribers registered through the Marcellus Minutes website that contains information on legislation including bill tracking, committee hearings and news from the Capitol in Harrisburg. Access to the website is free and provided to those directly involved and those with an interest in Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry.

Legislation this week

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee has scheduled SB 1092 for consideration on March 9.  The bill requires the operator to provide the DEP with a cement quality log or other approved method to ensure the adequacy of the cement used to encase the well. SB 297 (Yaw) remains on final consideration on House floor. 

The bill was amended with an “agreed to” amendment that adjusted dates to August 15th in the bill since current dates in the bill are too close to be met. The bill requires oil and gas well operators to submit a semi-annual report in addition to the existing annual report, removes the five-year confidentiality provision of oil and gas production reports and requires the DEP to post reports on their website.

An amendment adopted in the Senate; reinstates the requirement for non-Marcellus Shale well operators to only report annually, specifies that DEP must only publish well production reports online and directs DEP to use funds from permitting fees to pay for costs incurred under this legislation. To read the bill, click here. The bill could be sent over to the Senate the week of March 8th and with a concurrence vote could be on the Governor’s desk. SB 298 (Yaw) passed the Senate and has been referred to the House Agricultural Committee.  

The bill addresses concerns about adverse impacts on Pennsylvania Clean & Green and specifies that the owner of land under the Farmland & Forest Assessment Act that is subject to a preferential assessment may split of and lease land without rollback taxes being imposed on the entire tract.   

The bill was amended to expand the provision allowing for production of alternative energy; remove the provision allowing "commercial energy production" but keeps wind power generation; makes a clarification regarding roll-back taxes; limits certain non-coal surface mining operations; and adds a section allowing voluntary removal of land from the program. To read the bill, click here.

HB 1394 (Houghton) deals with this issue as well and has been passed by the House and is in the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. SB 1254 has been introduced by Senator Dinniman.  The bill establishes a severance tax that is modeled after the tax in place in West Virginia. To read his co-sponsorship memo, click here.

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