Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey has re-introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate that would strip away states’ rights, including his home state of Pennsylvania, to manage and protect their own land and natural resources, and instead concentrate that power at the federal level under the Environmental Protection Agency. He calls the legislation “The FRAC Act”—Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals. The bill, if passed (which seems unlikely in the current Congress), would place the practice of high volume hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) under the provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
A legal case that affects Pennsylvania landowners with signed leases to allow Marcellus drilling on their land has just been decided in landowners’ favor in a PA court. But it’s complicated to explain (we’ll do our best).
As MDN noted yesterday, the West Virginia legislature ended its regular session without passing any new regulations governing drilling in the Marcellus Shale, even though most agree there are important issues that need to be addressed in the state as the young but rapidly developing Marcellus drilling industry continues to expand. Now there is word that acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (appointed to fill the position of now-Senator Joe Manchin), will go ahead and regulate the industry on his own, without the legislature’s help.
It’s tough to get a read on whether Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will allow drilling in the Marcellus Shale to move forward any time soon, or not.