Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Strengthen Marcellus Shale Legislation Now!

With current negotiations taking place on Senate Bill 1100, PN 1777 and House Bill 1950, PN 2777, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has a set of preliminary comments on certain environmental provisions contained in (or not covered by) Senate Bill 1100, PN 1777 and House Bill 1950, PN 2777.
The comments focus on several key issues, but are intended to be neither comprehensive nor all-inclusive. For example, impact fees, allocation of funding, pre-emption, and bonding are not addressed.
In general, preference would be for the more protective of the legislative provisions where there are differences, as the attached document suggests. With that understanding, we also believe that it is especially important for the following issues to be addressed in a final legislative package:
-- Defining the term waterbody and ensuring that an additional 100’ setback is created from a stream or waterbody (definition is important – we believe that it should not be limited to “solid blue lines” as currently stated the House Bill 1950) which is measured from the edge of disturbance, rather than from the wellbore;
-- Clarifying DEP’s authority to condition and deny permits when protecting public resources;
-- Defining the term Best Management Practices and requiring BMP’s, especially in areas with EV/HQ streams and when drilling will occur in a floodplain;
-- Requiring erosion and sedimentation control inspections prior to the commencement of drilling activities; and
-- Identifying areas of high ecological value and allowing DEP to consider these important areas as a reason to condition a permit.
CBF urges you to contact your House and Senate member now!

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