In their push for more natural gas, drilling operators are increasingly using a process called hydraulic fracturing, which shoots vast amounts of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to break apart rock and release the gas. More frequently, this process also involves drilling down and then turning horizontally.
"It's part of being responsive to the public," Huffman said of the bill. "We need to give the public a sense of confidence."
Corky DeMarco, lobbyist for the state Oil and Natural Gas Association, said his group has some concerns about the legislation, but is willing to continue working with DEP to work something out.
"We had a bit of sticker shock with the permit fees," DeMarco said. "The fees are a bit of a problem and we need to hear why they need to go up at that level.
"[But] we need to have the DEP in a position where they have the confidence of the citizens of this state," DeMarco said. "We need to work with them on this."
Garvin said his group is concerned that DEP did not address potential air pollution issues related to gas well facilities, and is also upset that the bill continues to allow operators to bury drilling pit wastes on site.
All sides are also just beginning to compare the DEP's language to an oil and gas proposal put together previously by a legislative subcommittee.
"What's important is what comes out of the legislative sausage grinder," Huffman said.