Gov. Tom Corbett sent a letter to legislative leaders in both houses Tuesday urging them to send him a Marcellus Shale bill soon.
The House and Senate passed separate bills late last year, and a conference committee is supposed to be hammering out a compromise.
Corbett’s budget address is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 7.
The letter also appears to offer gubernatorial cover for one of the more controversial aspects of the legislation.
One of the sticking points is an industry desire for uniform local regulations. Anti-drilling activists and local government advocates both oppose aspects of that proposal, which they say unduly limits local control.
Corbett’s letter says it is “paramount” the final legislation have uniform standards “that balance the high regard we have for local governance in Pennsylvania with the predictability and consistency any business needs to grow and thrive.”
Corbett said the legislation under consideration “does not embrace total preemption” of local ordinances, but rather gives local governments “considerable discretion to impose conditions, requirements and limitations” on the natural gas industry.
Local governments would not, however, be able to ban drilling outright — which some have already done.
“I urge you to complete this work as soon as possible,” Corbett wrote, “and deliver a responsible, balanced bill to my desk of which we can all be proud.”