The state senate approved Senate Bill 1310 on Wednesday, which would protect the oil production industry from state regulation of companies extracting natural gas from shale.
The bill was introduced by state Sen. Scott Hutchinson, who cited the industry's effect on the local economy.
“The conventional oil industry is an important part of the regional economy in northwestern Pennsylvania – an economy that is already struggling," Hutchinson said. "It cannot afford to be stymied by excessive and unnecessary regulatory burdens.”
As a part of the bill, the state would establish the Penn. Crude Development Advisory Council. This panel would study existing regulation and help the Department of Environmental Protection differentiate conventional and unconventional gas and oil extraction.
Improvements of extraction and production technology require the laws of the state to be updated to better serve the state and industry.
“The council created under Senate Bill 1310 would work with the DEP to ensure that the differences between the operations are taken into account as these regulations and laws are developed and implemented,” Hutchinson said.
The bill will next go to the state House of Representatives for a vote.