PEC’s Lukewarm Statement of Support for New PA Drilling Law

The mostly anti-drilling organization Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) issued an interesting statement yesterday, commenting on new Marcellus drilling legislation that will likely be passed and signed into law this week in PA. Here is the entire press release:

The following is a statement from Paul M. King, president of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council:

The enemy of the good is the perfect, and this legislation is far from perfect. But the people of Pennsylvania are better served by getting this bill now than to wait another year or more for something stronger.

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) has worked hard over the past two years to identify the critical policy issues for effectively regulating development of the Marcellus Shale gas industry. PEC has released a series of reports and legislative proposals, containing more than 40 specific policy recommendations, several of which are now law. We are pleased that many of the environmental protection measures contained in this bill match those recommended by PEC.

However, this legislation comes up short on several key issues, including complete enhanced public disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids, as well as automatic reporting to the Department of Environmental Protection on wastewater handling and disposal.

Additionally, PEC remains concerned with the limitations this bill imposes on the rights of local governments in managing drilling activities in their own jurisdictions. We believe that local government should retain a degree of authority to enact additional controls when specific, local circumstances warrant.

So while the General Assembly and Governor Corbett have taken an important first step toward ensuring safe development of natural gas in Pennsylvania by incorporating many of the recommendations of the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, we believe that much more work remains to be done to ensure that the growth of this industry is truly an asset for all of Pennsylvania’s citizens and our environment.

We now look forward to working with the General Assembly and the administration, particularly DEP, in advancing implementation of other PEC recommendations through the legislative and regulatory process.*

MDN translation: We don’t really like the laws this stupid Republican majority is passing, but we’ll go along with it because we can’t stop it. And we’ll agitate like crazy in the coming months and years to get what we really want (because we’ll never compromise).

*Pennsylvania Environmental Council (Feb 6, 2012) – Statement by Paul M. King, President, Pennsylvania Environmental Council on General Assembly’s Marcellus Shale Legislation