Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission Issues Recommendations

no frackingAs mentioned yesterday by MDN, the self-appointed Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission—a group made up of liberal and left-leaning environmental and labor groups including the Sierra Club of PA, Penn Environment, Keystone Progress, Clean Water Action and the League of Women Voters—has released a list of recommendations for regulating shale gas drilling in the state. A copy of the 89-page report is embedded below.

The Citizens Commission was formed in response to a commission created earlier this year by newly elected Gov. Tom Corbett. Like Corbett’s commission, the Citizens Commission held public hearings across the state, received testimony, and voted on a list of recommendations, creating a final report. Among the report’s recommendations: increase drilling regulations and spend more money enforcing those regulations; expand setback requirements (how close wells can be drilled near waterways, schools, etc.); protect environmentally sensitive areas by banning drilling in those areas; complete a study of the cumulative impact of gas drilling on water, air and human health; force drillers to stop using toxic chemicals in fracking and instead use water and sand only; and institute a new tax on drillers.

The report stops short of demanding a complete ban, a moratorium on drilling, in the state. Because it did not make such a demand, the Delaware Riverkeeper organization which had been one of the main sponsors of the Citizens Commission pulled out just before the final report was issued (see this MDN story).