HARRISBURG – State Rep. Jim Struzzi (R-Indiana) believes Pennsylvania workers should have the first opportunity to solve a Pennsylvania problem.
“An Indiana County business told me they were denied an opportunity to bid on work to deal with Pennsylvania’s thousands of abandoned wells because of restrictive Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) policies,” Struzzi said. “Because of these policies, the majority of these well-plugging contracts go to out-of-state businesses. This makes absolutely no sense when we have capable companies employing hardworking Pennsylvania residents right here that can do this important work.”
On Tuesday, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee advanced Struzzi’s House Bill 2528
, which would allow any Pennsylvania company to bid for a contract DEP will award for plugging oil and gas wells, regardless of the size of the company. The bill would also require DEP to award a contract to an eligible Pennsylvania company before considering the bid of a company from out of state.
“This is common sense legislation that puts Pennsylvania workers and businesses first. Granted, if DEP can’t find a suitable Pennsylvania-based business partner, it would obviously be allowed to look elsewhere for an eligible company to do the work,” added Struzzi. “I was shocked to learn of these restrictive policies, but I’m glad we have an opportunity to rectify this unfortunate situation and help create and retain more jobs here.”
In addition, the timing for this legislation couldn’t be more appropriate given Pennsylvania is expected to receive millions in federal dollars to address abandoned wells.
“Pennsylvania has somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 orphaned gas and oil wells,” said Struzzi. “In the last two years, DEP has remedied less than 20. At that rate, it’s going to take about as many decades to solve this environmental issue as the amount of time we have been simply talking about solving it. This is a step in the right direction.”
Questions about this or any state government issue should be directed to Struzzi’s Indiana district office at 1-724-465-0220.
Representative Jim Struzzi
62nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott Little
717.260.6137 (office), 717.497.5937 (cell)