Proposed panel would protect, promote conventional oil production

Recognizing the benefits to the Commonwealth of conventional oil production, Senator Scott Hutchinson (R-21) is introducing legislation to protect that industry from state regulations intended for companies extracting Marcellus Shale gas.

Senator Hutchinson’s legislation, Senate Bill 1310, would establish the Penn Grade Crude Development Advisory Council, a panel empowered to study existing regulations and assist the Department of Environmental Protection in making changes that better address the differences between conventional and unconventional oil and gas production.

Representative Kathy Rapp plans to introduce similar legislation in the House of Representatives.

“My Senate district includes the birthplace of oil and gas production in Pennsylvania over a century and a half ago,” Senator Hutchinson said. “These resources fueled the industrial revolution and transformed our nation’s economy. This industry is an important part of the regional economy – an economy that is already struggling. It cannot afford to be stymied by excessive and unnecessary regulatory burdens.”

The proposed council created by SB 1310 would be a public-private partnership modeled after the successful Pennsylvania Hardwoods Development Council established in 1988. It would be charged with promoting Pennsylvania’s historic conventional oil and gas industry and advocating its future development.

“Generations of small producers have operated conventional shallow wells in a safe and responsible manner.  The paraffin-based oil produced in this region is unlike any other in the world and is used in specific products, from cosmetics to food production,” Senator Hutchinson said. “Recent technological advances that have allowed for the development of previously inaccessible formations have necessitated updates and revisions to Pennsylvania’s laws and regulations governing this new unconventional ‘shale gas’ industry.

“Unfortunately, many of these regulatory and legislative changes did not adequately allow for the significant differences between conventional and unconventional development,” Senator Hutchinson continued.  “The obvious differences within the industry must not be ignored and should be reflected in a separate regulatory framework for conventional oil and gas operations. The unique Pennsylvania Grade Crude Oil product is an asset which should be marketed and promoted, including the specific refineries which process the product, such as the Bradford based American Refining Group, a key employer in Northwest Pennsylvania.”


Justin Leventry
(717) 787-9684


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