Gov. Tom Wolf Wednesday announced the formation of a task force to help Commonwealth agencies, the natural gas industry, and communities across the state collaborate more effectively as thousands of miles of pipelines are being proposed to transport natural gas and related byproducts to markets from gas wells throughout the Commonwealth
DEP extended a general invitation to state agencies, the legislature, federal and local governments, the pipeline and natural gas industries and environmental groups, among others who were interested in being part of the Task Force. Interested individuals can apply here.
The PITF will provide to the Governor a final report detailing the findings of the task force in February 2016.
In Pennsylvania, natural gas drilling has outpaced the development of the infrastructure needed to get gas to market. Gov. Wolf created the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force in an effort to promote unprecedented collaboration of stakeholders to facilitate the development of a world-class pipeline infrastructure system.
The purpose and goals of the PITF are to define a series of best practices to:
-- Plan, site and route pipelines in ways that avoid or reduce environmental and community impacts;
-- Amplify and engage in meaningful public participation;
-- Maximize opportunities for predictable and efficient permitting;
-- Employ construction methods that reduce environmental and community impact;
-- Develop long-term operations and maintenance plans to ensure pipeline safety and integrity; and
-- Ensure pipeline safety and integrity during operation of the pipeline.
“We need to work with the industry to make sure that the positive economic benefits of Pennsylvania’s rich natural resources can more quickly be realized in a responsible way,” said Gov. Wolf. “This task force is part of our commitment to seeing the natural gas industry succeed.”
John Quigley, acting secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, will serve as chairman of the task force.
“Over the next decade, we could see the construction of as many as 25,000 miles of gathering lines. These are the lines that connect the wells to the processing stations. We can also expect another 4,000 to 5,000 miles of midstream and transmission pipelines in Pennsylvania,” Quigley said. “Now is the time for a collaborative conversation among all stakeholders -- state, federal and local governments; industry representatives; and environmental and conservation groups.”
The oversight of pipeline development is a challenge for the industry as well as the host communities, as no single state or federal agency has sole authority.For more information, visit DEP’s Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force webpage. Questions should be directed to: RA-EPPITF@pa.gov.