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Current location:HOME>> News>> Industry News>> Permit delays, regulatory uncertainty concerning to gas business
Permit delays, regulatory uncertainty concerning to gas business
AUTHOR:admin PUBLISHED:2016-05-20 CLICK:正在读取

Environmental permitting delays and regulatory uncertainty threaten to harm Pennsylvania's oil and gas industry and stifle investment in the sector as it struggles with low prices, business leaders told lawmakers gathered in Washington County on Thursday.

“We repeatedly hear from clients … that Pennsylvania is the most challenging and unpredictable regulatory environment that they see,” said Dustin Kuhlman, office manager for Robinson-based Civil & Environmental Consultants.

He told members of the House Majority Policy Committee that staff at various Department of Environmental Protection regional offices take different approaches to analyzing permit applications from oil and gas clients, leading to longer delays in some districts such as Pittsburgh. Subjective decisions by reviewers are allowing applications to be put aside, undermining a much-lauded policy implemented in 2013 to reduce approval time, he said.

“Many of our operators wait for more than 200 days for a permit,” said Dave Spigel­myer, president of the North Fayette-based Marcellus Shale Coalition. Such delays and inconsistencies, combined with ever-changing environmental rules and a perennial debate over how to tax the industry, make companies leery of committing money to gas projects, he and others said.

“Pennsylvania is one of the more difficult places to operate. I've heard it as well,” said Gene Barr, president of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.

Committee Chairman Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre County, who organized the legislative roundtable at the Hilton Garden Inn at Southpointe, promised further review of the permitting problems raised by the speakers and some lawmakers.

“It really struck a nerve with me, the red tape and bureaucracy,” said Rep. Tommy Sankey, R-Clearfield.

Gas well drilling has slowed dramatically as prices fell to 16-year lows because of an oversupply. Part of the industry remains busy, though, seeking to build pipelines that can ease the glut by taking gas to lucrative markets, or to build plants that use gas and related liquids.

Attracting companies for projects such as a petrochemical plant to process natural gas liquids (NGLs) requires knowing what regulations, permitting processes and tax policies will look like, speakers told the lawmakers.

“What we really need now is to find, in the region, demand for these NGLs, rather than export them elsewhere,” said Greg Floerke, an executive vice president at gas processor MarkWest. “There's a lot of value that we're losing by not having the plants that can take advantage of that.”

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