Two Environmental Groups Propose List of Changes to PA Oil & Gas Act to Tighten Controls on Marcellus Drilling

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) provided a detailed prescription of amendments they say “must be made” to the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act so that state law can effectively regulate and manage deep shale and unconventional drilling techniques that were never contemplated when the law was enacted. Called the “Marcellus Shale Amendments to the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act,” the proposal was provided to PA Gov. Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Commission and members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly in separate meetings on Tuesday.

Among the 50 proposed changes in the PA Oil and Gas Act proposed by the two groups:

  • Split the current permitting process into two phases to allow for more public review and comment and to take the cumulative impacts of drilling on communities;
  • Increasing the buffer distances between well operations and nearby streams and waterways, including a prohibition against drilling in floodplains to safeguard against pollution risks;
  • Requiring on-site inspections of each new well site by the Department of Environmental Protection at several intervals in the well development process;
  • Increasing bonding amounts to cover the true cost of development, production and closure through the life-cycle of a well;
  • Requiring the industry to share pipelines and other facilities needed for the development and production of natural gas in order to minimize the surface impacts;
  • Establish a set of permit decision rules designed to minimize or eliminate adverse environmental impacts;
  • Increased capacity and engagement at a county level for planning, permit review, and inspection of Marcellus shale development.

Read the press release and the full proposal by following the link below.

*Pennsylvania Environmental Council (May 10, 2011) – Major environmental organizations submit proposed Marcellus Shale drilling laws