Drilling decline reduces revenue for Pennsylvania’s oil and gas regulatory program

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that low natural gas prices that have energy companies dispatching fewer drilling rigs to Pennsylvania are taking a toll on the state’s oil and gas regulators. The newspaper says that Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is exploring additional funding options for its oil and gas regulatory program because permit applications to drill shale gas wells — the program’s dominant revenue source — are down about 30 percent compared to this point in 2014. DEP uses permit fees, fines and $6 million a year from the Pennsylvania’s impact fee on unconventional wells to fund the oil and gas program’s $21 million annual budget.