Those opposed to natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania have an uphill battle with a new governor (Tom Corbett) who is pro-drilling, and with pro-drilling majorities in both the Senate and House. So they pick and chose their battles. Some groups want an outright ban or moratorium (a moratorium being nothing more than a prelude to an outright ban). Others opposed to drilling, like Jan Jarrett, the president and CEO of statewide environmental group PennFuture, are concentrating on small victories now, hoping for bigger ones later when the political climate changes. And the political climate will one day change again—that much is certain. So what is on Ms. Jarrett’s to-do list for 2011?
- Increase the manpower and authority of the State Department of Environmental Protection so they can more vigorously enforce regulations;
- Increase fines for drillers who violate regulations;
- Increase the bond price drillers now pay that ensures land will be restored after they are done drilling (the current bond is $2,500 per well);
- Get drilling prohibited in flood plains;
- Create a “buffer zone” of no-drilling around water supplies;
- Continue Gov. Ed Rendell’s moratorium on further drilling in state game lands.
For more details on the apparent “disarray” of anti-drilling efforts in Pennsylvania, see this article:
The Patriot-News (Jan 29) – Gas-drilling opponents see different goals for Pennsylvania