Hutchinson bill addresses differences in oil, gas production in Pennsylvania

State Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-21) recently introduced legislation to protect the oil industry in Pennsylvania from regulations aimed at companies extracting gas from the Marcellus Shale.

S.B. 1310 would establish the Penn Grade Crude Development Advisory Council, a new panel focused on the study of existing regulations that would assist the state's environmental protection authorities in making changes that address the differences between oil and gas production.

"My Senate district includes the birthplace of oil and gas production in Pennsylvania over a century and a half ago," 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 would be a public-private partnership based on the Pennsylvania Hardwoods Development Council established in the 80s.

"Generations of small producers have operated conventional shallow wells in a safe and responsible manner," Hutchinson said. "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. 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."