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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Senate Hoping For Shale Bill In 2011 Session

Some legislators hopeful shale bill will be hammered out soon

HARRISBURG -- State senators prepped a bill Wednesday so that Marcellus Shale oversight legislation could be approved quickly if negotiators hammer out a compromise within the next week.

But large question marks still loom regarding whether that measure will find its way to the governor's desk by the end of the year as Gov. Tom Corbett and lawmakers have been aiming.

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, whose caucus has been working with the majority Republicans since spring to craft a Marcellus Shale impact fee and regulatory measure, is not hopeful.

"Our legislative work, for all intents and purposes, is done for this year. Next week, we'll do congressional reapportionment, a few other matters and then we're likely to be done," said Mr. Costa, D-Forest Hills.

As he made that prediction, House Democrats and environmental advocates were holding a news conference elsewhere in the state Capitol, both decrying the fact that significant natural gas drilling legislation has not been approved as well as condemning the House and Senate proposals as flimsy.

"There's more ideology driving these bills than evaluation of the needs of this state," said John Quigley, who led the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources under former Gov. Ed Rendell. "Some are going overboard to genuflect to the industry."

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