No public ceremony for the signing of historic legislation to regulate Marcellus Shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania. Monday evening, Gov. Tom Corbett’s office announced he had privately signed the new legislation into law. A detailed summary of the legislation is embedded below.
Among the key provisions in the final bill:
- Establishes an impact fee (tax) on a sliding scale over 15 years for each well drilled, to be split 60/40, with 60 percent going to the county and 40 percent to the state.
- Municipalities can no longer regulate gas drilling in their borders, but they can still enact zoning restrictions for things like truck traffic, noise, light and other industrial effects from drilling. If a driller believes a local zoning law is too restrictive, the driller can appeal it to the Public Utility Commission, who now becomes the referee for such disputes.
- Property owners within 3,000 of a well permit must be notified of the new permit (used to be 1,000 feet).
- New wells must be drilled at least 500 feet away from existing buildings or water wells (used to be 200 feet), and if it’s a supply point for public water supplies, the setback must be 1,000 feet.
- New wells must be drilled at least 300 feet away from streams, springs, bodies of water or wetlands greater than one acre (used to be 100 feet).
- Increases the amount of blanket bonds from $25,000 up to $600,000.
- Drillers must start using FracFocus.org to publicly disclose all chemicals used in the fracking of individual wells.
- Creates a Natural Gas Energy Development Program with incentives to convert truck fleets to compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, or bi-fuel vehicles. At least 50 percent of the funds must be used for grants to local transportation organizations, including mass transit agencies.