Thursday, August 29, 2013

New rules governing gas drilling under review in Pa

The rules would ban the permanent storage of fracking fluids in open pits and
would
force drillers to locate and monitor abandoned wells within 1,000 feet 
of a proposed well site.

Environmentalists and drillers are gearing up for a fight over how best to protect rivers and drinking water as the state implements the biggest change to its oil and gas laws in 30 years, the Tribune-Review reports. .
The state Department of Environmental Protection released 74 pages of proposed regulations on Tuesday aimed at shielding the state's drinking wells and rivers from the Marcellus shale drilling industry.
“The most important provisions are those that are designed to improve the protection of water quality,” said David Hess, DEP secretary under former Gov. Tom Ridge and a Harrisburg lobbyist whose clients include environmental groups.
The regulations would ban permanent storage of hydraulic fracturing fluid in open pits and require drillers to notify state agencies if they plan to drill near a scenic river, among other rules, according to a summary.
The rules are the first to be issued under the 2012 Oil and Gas Act, said DEP spokeswoman Lisa Kasianowitz. They also aim to protect the state's $1 billion in industries tied to natural resources, the DEP said.
“This puts Pennsylvania pretty far ahead of other states in environmental protection measures,” Hess said.
But not far enough, some say.
Among the concerns raised by environmental groups, a proposed rule against open-air storage pits doesn't ban them outright and another governing abandoned wells doesn't go far enough.

Find reporter Mike Wereschagin's full story here 

Related environmental news stories:
Environmental Quality Board Approves New Draft Regulations For Drilling
Pennsylvania Proposes New Oil and Gas Regulations
Bill seeks to relax environmental regulations
So far, it's a split decision on fracking, health

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