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.

Legislative Update

Several bills, listed below, remain on the House Calendar. With the House focused on the budget action on any of the bills isn’t likely to happen until the budget is adopted. Two bills, HB 1489 (Severance Tax) and HB 1155 (Surface Owners Protection Act) remain in the House Appropriations Committee. 

HB 1489 requires a driller to apply for a severance tax registration certificate, requires wellhead meters and establishes a reporting period defined as "a calendar month in which natural gas is severed.” The tax imposed would be 5% of the gross value of units severed at the wellhead during a reporting period, plus 4.7 cents per unit severed.

House Bill 1155 (George)

The bill, known as “The Surface Owners’ Protection Act”, would:

  • Specify compensation to surface owners for damages; 
  • Require detailed disclosure statements indicating the impact that mineral extraction will have on surface lands; 
  • Compel parties to seek surface use and compensation agreements;
  • Implement standards governing the installation and operation of oil and gas wells and related facilities;
  • Detail the responsibilities of the owners of both the surface and mineral rights; 
  • Outline the role of the Department of Environmental Protection. 

SB 297 (Yaw) remains in House Appropriations. 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.

HB 1205 (Pickett), also remains in Appropriations. The bill extends the presumption of liability for damages for a well operator to 2,000 feet from the well. It also extends the timeframe for the damage to 24 months and requires water tests before and after production has commenced. To read the co-sponsorship memo click here. To read the bill click here

Five amendments have been filed to the bill for consideration on the House floor.

SB 285 by Senator Orie (Allegheny) remains in Senate Appropriations. The bill makes changes to the Municipalities Planning Code. Chief among them is that when there is doubt over the meaning of a land development ordinance, the “tie” goes to the landowner. To read the co-sponsorship memo click here. To read the bill, click here.

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