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Briefs -- PA Permits | PA Royalty Bill

Pennsylvania Republican Senate leaders have sent a letter to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) questioning its plans for a new general permit for unconventional well sites and general permit revisions for natural gas compressor facilities. Senate President Joe Scarnati, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and Sen. Gene Yaw,  chairman of the energy committee, wrote the agency to say they fear the proposed revisions could jeopardize the industry's competitiveness. They sent a series of questions asking what justifies the permits and what cost-benefit analysis has been conducted, among other things. The letter follows another from Republican state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe earlier this month accusing the agency of skirting the state's Regulatory Review Act in opening the permits for public comment. The permits are part of Gov. Tom Wolf's plans to reduce oil and gas industry emissions. The proposals would also affect remote pigging stations, transmission stations and processing plants. DEP has said it is still early in the process and that it will continue to work with the industry on the changes.

Pennsylvania Republican state Rep. Garth Everett has for a third time introduced a bill to better protect oil and gas royalty owners in the state. HB 557 would clarify the state's Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act of 1979, which sets forth the minimum payment to landowners but doesn't address marketing costs and how they should be factored into royalties. Landowners across the state have voiced their concerns about post-production costs being deducted from royalty payments. The clock ran out on Everett's bill at the end of last year's legislative session as it has in the past. Other bills have been introduced in the state legislature to help resolve problems with royalty payments in the state.

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