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DEP realigns regions
The Department of Environmental Protection has announced it is rebalancing the workload among its regional offices by transferring responsibility for all applicable regulatory programs in Armstrong and Indiana counties from DEP's Southwest Regional Office to the Northwest Regional Office.

A notice on DEP's Office of Oil and Gas Management webpage explains that effective January 10 inquiries and correspondence regarding new permit applications, reporting, and compliance matters related to sites in Armstrong and Indiana counties are to be directed to the Northwest Regional Office. Questions on permit applications under review as of January 9 as well as pending enforcement matters for the two counties should continue to go to the Southwest Regional Office. Inquiries can also be directed to RA-epcontactus@pa.gov.

Mining and Radiation Protection permits and programs are not affected by this regional office change.
PIOGA hosting presentation on buried-infrastructure protection program
PIOGA invites members to participate in a presentation and Q-and-A session this Wednesday, January 23, on the Gold Shovel Standard, a nonprofit organization dedicated todriving safety, reducing damages, and minimizing the risks associated with excavating around pipelines and other buried assets.

The presentation takes place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the PIOGA offices in Wexford.

At the heart of the Gold Shovel Standard's work are a certification program for excavators and participation by Gold Standard Communities. The organization's number-one goal is a 50% reduction over 2015 levels in the frequency of damages in North America on professional excavation sites by the end of 2025.

If you would like to take part in the January 23 presentation, please email Joyce Turkaly at joyce@pioga.org or call her at 724-900-0028.
Cigar networking event coming up on February 21
One of PIOGA's popular cigar networking events is coming up next month at The Lot at Edgewater in Oakmont. Taking place on Thursday, February 21, the mixer will run from 6 to 9 p.m. The registration fee includes wine and domestic beer, heavy appetizers and a two-cigar pairing. A variety of sponsorship opportunities are available too.
 
The registration deadline is February 15. However, space is limited, so don't put off registering! Find out more here.

PIOGA petitions state Supreme Court to reconsider stripper well impact fee decision
PIOGA is asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to reconsider its December 28 decision in favor of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) in two cases involving the definition of a stripper well for the purposes of the Act 13 unconventional well impact fee. On Friday, January 11, the association filed an application for reconsideration in Snyder Brothers, Inc. v. PUC and PIOGA v. PUC.

Under Act 13, stripper wells are not required to pay the annual impact fee. The act defines of a stripper well as an "unconventional gas well incapable of producing more than 90 Mcf/d during any calendar month." Snyder Brothers and PIOGA have argued that the law plainly means a well is exempt if it was incapable of exceeding the 90 Mcf/d threshold in any one month during the reporting period, while the PUC contended that a well must not exceed the threshold volume during each and every month of the year to qualify as an exempt stripper well.

In March 2017, the Commonwealth Court decided in favor of PIOGA and member company Snyder Brothers, and the PUC appealed to the state Supreme Court. The high court, however, agreed with the PUC's interpretation of the word "any" and also put considerable weight on the commission's unfounded notion that producers could manipulate production in a given month to avoid paying the impact fee. The Court majority ruled that an unconventional well is "subject to assessment of an impact fee for a calendar year whenever that well's natural gas production exceeds 90,000 cubic feet per day in at least one calendar month of that year."

PIOGA's application for reconsideration can be found here. For more on the Supreme Court ruling, see the January PIOGA Press.
Call for presentations: PIOGA Spring Meeting
Suggestions for conference session topics are always welcome. If you have a presenter in mind, please share this information with them or contact Danielle Boston.
DEP: Two-year well permit renewals can't be extended
The Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Oil and Gas Management wants operators to know that two-year well permit renewals are offered just one time. Once the two-year renewal expires, operators must apply for a new permit.

DEP indicates that it is beginning to receive second permit renewal requests. Operators will be asked to withdraw their requests and their fee will be refunded. At some point, DEP said, it may begin denying renewal requests.
Become a PIOGA Partner
The various Partner levels are described here. If you have questions or are ready to sign on now for 2019, contact Debbie Oyler at debbie@pioga.org or 724-933-7306 ext. 22.

Electronic permitting update for ESCGP-3

The Department of Environmental Protection has released an updated transition plan for the Erosion and Sediment Control General Permit (ESCGP-3), as well as updated ESCGP-3 Notice of Intent Instructions.

 

For ESCGP-3 applications submitted to the Office of Oil and Gas Management, operators will continue to have the option to submit paper ESCGP-3 to district oil and gas offices or submit electronic ESCGP-3s through the department's electronic ePermitting application, until further notice.

 

Any questions regarding this information should be directed to Joe Kelly at 717-772-5991 or josephkel@pa.gov or Brian Bailey at 570-974-2604 or bribailey@pa.gov.

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Events

2/21/2019
CIGAR NETWORKING EVENT

PIOGA News


Still available: PIOGA Centennial knives. As part of PIOGA's celebration of 100 years of working together on behalf of Pennsylvania's crude oil and natural gas industry, we  commissioned a commemorative knife from W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company. The limited edition, collector quality knife and wooden display box feature PIOGA's 100th Anniversary logo. It's a great collector's piece and also makes a unique gift for coworkers, industry colleagues and petroleum history enthusiasts. Order yours now!