Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pa residents, industry have their say on drilling rules

"Five years into Pennsylvania’s shale gas boom, the state is overhauling environmental regulations for drillers and changing the way the industry operates above ground, "reports  State Impact’s Katie Colaneri. 
A public hearing Monday night in Williamsport, Lycoming County set drillers, who argued the rules would go too far, against environmentalists who say the Department of Environmental Protection did not go far enough.  
“I understand they’re walking a fine line. It’s a hard job for an agency,” said Nadia Steinzor, a New York-based organizer with the environmental group Earthworks. “You can’t satisfy everybody, but they know enough now.”
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The rules proposed by the state Department of Environmental Protection would set new standards for running temporary pipelines, dealing with spills and storing wastes. Many of the new requirements were set by the state’s drilling law, Act 13 and will update Chapter 78 of the state code.
Click here for State Impact's guide to the proposed regulations 
Drillers would also be required to search for abandoned wells within 1,000 feet of the path of the well bore. The DEP says it would help build a database of the hundreds of thousands of old wells that have not been plugged and can become pathways for pollution.
Companies would be responsible for plugging old wells if they are impacted during fracking.John Augustine with the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry trade group, says the industry is willing to comply with that provision, but should not be held responsible for cleaning up after old wells that were not impacted by their activities.
Read the full story here

Related environmental news stories:
DEP Chapter 78 Drilling Regulation Webinars Now Available Online
News: Environmental Quality Board opens public comment period
Public can comment on oil/gas regulation changes - Meadville Tribune
Shallow well producers decry DEP's proposed new rules - Williamsport Sun-Gazette

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