HARRISBURG – Recognizing the opportunity to help build energy independence for the Commonwealth and the nation, the state House on Monday approved Rep. Clint Owlett’s (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) proposal to end a Wolf administration moratorium on subsurface leases under state land.
“By passing this bill, we are sending a message to the world that here in Pennsylvania, we are done purchasing energy from countries that want to hurt us,” Owlett said. “And we are certainly done relying on countries like Russia, which is committing war crimes against the people of Ukraine.
“I believe we have a moral obligation to provide for ourselves as much as possible, and my bill is one way to help do that,” he added.
House Bill 2461
would open the door to more energy production in the Commonwealth by putting an end to the Wolf administration’s prohibition on subsurface leases first enacted in 2015. If enacted, the bill would help give the Commonwealth the ability to access some stranded gas from prior leases and, where it makes sense, create new ones.
Owlett noted the state already has some gas leases on state property that are generating healthy royalty payments to the Commonwealth. One company alone has paid $275 million in royalties over the last decade.
“We can harvest this energy while also preserving our state lands just as they are now by requiring that the surface well site be placed outside of state property,” Owlett added.
The bill also would create a grant program from the initial lease payments to help protect communities from flooding, keeping farmers’ topsoil in their fields and out of the Chesapeake Bay.
In addition to Owlett’s bill, the House also approved House Bills 2450
, which would open the Delaware River Basin for natural gas development and exploration.
The measures now go to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Clint Owlett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives