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Pennsylvania lawmakers seek to block drilling regs

28 Sep 2017, 8.52 pm GMT

Pennsylvania lawmakers seek to block drilling regs

Houston, 28 September (Argus) — Pennsylvania lawmakers want to maintain the status quo for natural gas drilling in the Delaware river basin following a regulatory group's plans for new rules over drilling activity in the region.

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) plans to publish draft regulations for natural gas development activities by 30 November. The regulations would aim to ensure safe storage, treatment, disposal and discharge of wastewater from fracturing, among other drilling-related regulations.

But a bill currently under a Pennsylvania legislature committee review would urge the group to suspend those considerations.HR 515 calls for the commission to abandon any plans to regulate drilling beyond already established functions, and suspend consideration of a moratorium of drilling in the basin. The resolution says the commission scheduled a special meeting to consider natural gas regulations in November 2011, but that meeting was postponed and created the appearance of being postponed indefinitely. That has caused "irreparable economic harm" to those who entered into good faith leasing agreements with natural gas developers.

Assembly members Jonathan Fritz (R), Aaron Bernstine (R), Matthew Baker (R) and Ryan Mackenzie (R)co-sponsored the resolution and introduced it late last week. It has since been referred to the Committee on Environmental Resources and Energy, which does not yet have a meeting scheduled to discuss the resolution.

The 13,539 square-mile Delaware River basin includes parts of Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania that border the Delaware river. The region is on the eastern edge of the Marcellus shale, which is the largest US natural gas field by volume. Dry-gas production from the shale in August rose to more than 17.5 Bcf/d (496mn m³/d), up by 1pc from July and 8.4pc from a year earlier, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

The DBRC is made up of the governors of those five states.

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