Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Senate Committee Adds Marcellus Environmental Protection Measures To SB 1100, Fee Next Week

The Senate Appropriations Committee this afternoon added Amendment A05826 to Senate Bill 1100 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson) which inserts a variety of requirements designed to better protect the environment from the impacts of Marcellus Shale drilling.
The amendment does not have drilling fee language nor does it represent any final agreement on the issue of preempting local ordinances from regulating drilling operations. These issues are expected to be taken up next week before the Senate adjourns for its election break.
Here is a quick summary of the provisions included in the amendment--
-- Removes entire fee structure and distribution from the bill.
-- The increased environmental safeguards impact unconventional wells and do not impact the
shallow gas industry.
-- Increases setbacks from occupied structures and water wells from 200 feet to 500 feet and public
drinking water sources to 1,000 feet.
-- Increases the setback distance from an unconventional well and a spring or body of water
identified on the most current 7 1⁄2 minute topographic map from 100 feet to 300 feet.
-- Provides additional notice of permit applications to adjacent landowners, affected municipalities,
water supply purveyors, severed mineral rights owners from 1,000 feet to 3,000 feet.
-- Requires PEMA and the department to adopt emergency regulations directing the operators of unconventional wells to implement a unique GPS coordinate address for each well at the access road entrance and well pad site, as well as developing an emergency response plan.
-- Substantially increases well bonding requirements
-- Requires operators to use containment methods on well pad sites to be designed and constructed
to prevent spills to the ground surface or spills off the well pad area.
-- Clarifies the authority of DEP to revoke/deny permits to bad actors
-- Authorizing DEP to establish additional protective measures for chemicals or hazardous material located on drilling site.
-- Enhances water quality and quantity replacement standards to meet applicable water quality standards consistent with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
-- Expanding distance and duration of rebuttable presumption to better protect public and private water supplies from 1,000 feet/6 months to 3,000 feet/12 months
-- Requiring disclosure of hydraulic fracturing components.
-- Requires the department to adopt regulations regarding the transportation of wastewater.
-- Increased well completion report data collection and transparency
-- Ensuring qualifications of oil and gas wastewater treatment facility operators
-- Posting inspection reports and cleanup activities online
-- Increases the civil fine for unconventional wells from $25,000 plus $1,000 for each continuing day of violation to $75,000 plus $5,000.
-- Retains language from Senate Bill 1100 regarding a model zoning ordinance.
Click Here for a copy of the amendment. Click Here for a summary.

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