Rep. Mitch Gillespie announced yesterday that he will sponsor a bill in the short session that will inch the progress on Hydraulic Fracturing forward, with support of giving DENR time to further study aspects of shale gas development through December 2012. A final report from that study would be sent to the General Assembly in March 2013. He said that he would like to adopt all 20 recommendations from the DENR Shale Gas study. They will look further at developing a Oil and Gas Commission, similar to the Utilities Commission, but keep the regulatory role for DENR. He says the soonest that the state would allow gas development through unconventional means would be mid-2014, but much more realistically in mid-2015. Listen to the press conference, which also included Rep. Stone and Rep. Harrison.
I’m not sure if this is in response to public comment, but I feel that the overriding comment from both pro- and anti- fracking individuals at the Sanfrod hearing was ‘take your time.’ The fact that they’re willing to simply take a step forward as opposed to outright opening the state to unconventional drilling seems like a good development to me. Pricey Harrison says it well in her few comments in the press conference that there is no hurry to allow hydraulic fracturing because the market just won’t be knocking on the door with the low price for gas and with the limited resource and infrastructure here. Stay tuned.