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Governor Signs the Pennsylvania Grade Crude Development Act

On June 23, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed the Pennsylvania Grade Crude Development Act (S.B. 279), which abrogates the Environmental Quality Board’s revisions to the Chapter 78 regulations concerning conventional oil and natural gas wells.  The Act provides that any future EQB rulemakings concerning conventional oil and natural gas wells must be undertaken “separately and independently” of those applicable to unconventional wells and must include a regulatory analysis form submitted to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission that is restricted to the subject of conventional wells.  The Act also creates the Pennsylvania Grade Crude Development Advisory Council (“PGCDAC”), which will consist of 17 members, including representatives from the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, Pennsylvania Grade Crude Oil Coalition, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.  The PGCDAC is tasked with, among other items:  (1) examining and making recommendations regarding certain existing technical regulations; (2) reviewing and commenting on the formulation and drafting of all technical regulations promulgated under the Oil and Gas Act; and (3) exploring the development of a regulatory scheme that provides for environmental oversight and enforcement specifically applicable to the conventional oil and natural gas industry.  The Act takes effect immediately.