FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Santarsiero introduces bill to boost protections from gas drilling activities
HARRISBURG, May 25 – State Rep. Steve Santarsiero introduced a bill today that would establish stronger environmental safeguards in natural-gas drilling activities than what is currently required in Act 13 of 2012, the Marcellus Shale law recently signed by Gov. Tom Corbett.
“The Corbett Marcellus Shale law failed to protect our critical environmental resources from the impacts of natural-gas drilling activities,” said Santarsiero, D-Bucks. “It sets bonding requirements so low that it guarantees taxpayers will be left holding the bag for abandoned well cleanup and reclamation if the drilling companies fail to live up to their responsibilities.
“Of equal concern, Act 13 neglects to protect public water supplies from potential pollution and contamination with inadequate environmental buffers and setbacks,” he added. “And, to add insult to injury, this sham of a law actually requires the state Department of Environmental Protection to grant further relief from these pitiful environmental requirements if a drilling company requests one."
Santarsiero said his bill, H.B. 2414 – part of the House Democrats’ Marcellus Compact legislative package – corrects the failures of Act 13 by:
· doubling the bonding requirements to ensure that drillers are held accountable for any environmental damage they may cause;
· increasing the environmental setback distances from water sources to ensure drinking water is protected; and
· removing the requirement that DEP grant variances to drilling companies, keeping the zoning powers at the local level where they belong.
“My bill provides simple fixes to the huge environmental failures of current law,” Santarsiero said. “The key to responsible oversight of the natural gas industry is that we place the interests of Pennsylvanians above the interests of corporations.”
The Marcellus Compact is a six-bill legislative package that fixes the flawed, industry-friendly Marcellus Shale law. The Marcellus Compact is a promise by House Democrats to put the interests of Pennsylvania taxpayers, workers and families first.
CONTACT: Amy Hartman
House Democratic Communications Office