Pennsylvania oil and gas program faces dire financial situation

The director of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) says large fines paid by drilling companies kept the agency's oil and natural gas regulatory program afloat in 2017, “as program costs surpass dwindling revenue from well permits by nearly $700,000 a month,” reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The newspaper says DEP’s Scott Perry laid out what he called the dire condition of the program’s finances to justify a DEP proposal to more than double the cost of a permit to drill a shale gas well from $5,000 to $12,500. Permit fees were last raised in 2014 with the expectation that companies would apply for 2,600 shale well permits a year, but they are on track to apply for just 1,500 permits in 2018, according to the Post-Gazette. For more, read the full story.