Monday, October 30, 2023

Sen. Yaw, Republican Chair Of Senate Environmental Committee, Calls Bill To Reduce Shale Gas Industry Impacts On Health, Environment ‘Stupid’

On October 30, the
House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee held a hearing on the health and environmental impacts of the shale gas industry and legislation-- House Bill 170 (Otten-D-Chester)--  increasing safety zone setbacks around natural gas infrastructure.

The Committee heard testimony from three citizens group representatives, including residents of Washington and Westmoreland counties relating their personal experiences, two physicians that studied health impacts of industry operations and a lobbyist for a shale gas industry group and the PA Building and Construction Trades Council representing some workers in the industry.  

The legislation being considered would increase setback safety zones from shale natural gas drilling sites and infrastructure from 500 to 2,500 feet or more, based on the latest science and a 2020 Grand Jury report.  Read more here.

The same day, Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, issued this statement in reaction to the hearing--

“Earlier today, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee held a public hearing on House Bill 170, which would expand setback requirements for natural gas wells in Pennsylvania to between 2,500 – 5,000 feet.

“It is often said that we cannot legislate against stupidity. That is true but we can stop stupid legislation from becoming law.  

“Should House Bill 170 or any similar legislation pass the House of Representatives, it will not be considered in the Senate.”

“Make no mistake. House Bill 170 is a ban on natural gas development in Pennsylvania. It is horrible legislation from an environmental, economic and property rights perspective.

“This legislation threatens hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania jobs and deprives Pennsylvania landowners of their property rights. It compromises our national security, exponentially drives up the cost of energy for citizens, and weakens our state’s economy – from the hundreds of millions of tax dollars that natural gas development generates for local governments and conservation programs, to the businesses that rely on robust natural gas development for their survival, not to mention their reliable energy supply.

“Choking off the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania will have a devastating domino effect on the 13 states and the District of Columbia who depend on Pennsylvania generating 25% of the electric power in the PJM grid.  

“Moreover, the hydrogen hub projects which have been the subject of numerous accolades by the Administration during the past two weeks, and the billions of dollars involved, are dead on arrival without a continuing natural gas industry. No energy company on the planet will consider doing business in Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania already has among the strictest setbacks for wells in the entire nation. We have been recognized as a standard for enacting strong yet reasonable environmental safeguards that protect our natural resources. 

“These policies are the prerogative of the General Assembly – not unelected bureaucrats, nor one chamber of a legislature that is exhibiting hostility to Pennsylvania job creators.

“Let me be clear: I support the rights of my constituents to develop their property rights and to have access to affordable energy to care for their families and run their businesses. 

“As chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, we have consistently advanced legislation that protects these interests and rights of our constituents. I remain committed to doing just that.”

Click Here for a copy of Sen. Yaw’s statement.

Note: The fact is, the House Environmental Resource and Energy Committee hearing was the first time either the Senate or the House standing committees on the environment ever held a hearing on the health and environmental impacts of gas development and safety zones around gas infrastructure.

The House Environmental Committee, in previous sessions, has had hearings on natural gas issues like ‘Wellhead to Stovetop’ and “Oil & Gas Byproducts - Could We Live Without Them?

The Senate Environmental Committee has had hearings on the role of natural gas LNG in US Energy Security, the failure to invest in the state’s natural gas infrastructure, how foreign entities stand in the way of Pennsylvania’s gas development and how fast DEP is reviewing permit applications.

The Senate did hold hearings on pipeline safety in 2018, in particular the Mariner East Pipeline, but no legislation came out of it, except for changes to the PA One Call underground utility notification system.  Read more here.

(Photo: Sen. Yaw (left) at shale gas drill rig pad.)

Upcoming Events:

-- PA League Of Women Voters, University Of Pittsburgh Graduate School Of Public Health Nov. 14 Shale Gas & Public Health Conference  [PaEN]

-- University Of Pittsburgh Studies Of Shale Gas Development Health Impacts To Be Discussed At Nov. 14 Joint Meeting Of DEP Citizens Advisory Council, Environmental Justice Advisory Board  [PaEN]

Related Articles - Health/Environmental Impacts:

-- Gov. Shapiro: We Need Stronger Laws To Deal With The ‘Corporate Greed’ That Let Oil & Gas Operators Get Away With Abandoning Wells For Far Too Long [PaEN]

-- Feature: 60 Years Of Fracking, 20 Years Of Shale Gas: Pennsylvania’s Oil & Gas Industrial Infrastructure Is Hiding In Plain Sight [PaEN]

-- Conventional Oil & Natural Gas Drilling: An Industrial Machine Moving Across The PA Countryside Leaving Behind Big Liabilities & Spreading Pollution Everywhere It Goes  [PaEN]

-- 3 Days That Shook Washington County: Natural Gas Plant Explosion; Pipeline Leak Of 1.1 Million Cubic Feet Of Gas; 10,000 Gallon Spill At Compressor Station  [PaEN]

-- Citizen Complaint, Company Report Results In DEP Inspection Finding 63,000 Gallon Wastewater Spill At Seneca Resources Shale Gas Well On State Game Lands In Elk County; More Leaks, Spills  [PaEN]

-- EQT Shale Gas Wastewater Truck Rolls Over Spilling More Than 4,600 Gallons Of Wastewater In Lycoming County [PaEN]

-- Equitrans Determined Leak Of Over 1.1 Billion Cubic Feet Of Natural Gas From Cambria County Storage Facility Was Caused By Corrosion In Conventional Gas Well Casing   [PaEN]

-- Ohio/PA Train Derailment, Pipeline Explosions, Uncontrolled Releases Put Spotlight On Public Health, Safety Threats Posed By Petrochemical, Natural Gas Industrial And Pipeline Infrastructure In PA  [PaEN] 

-- 9th Compendium Of Studies On Health & Environmental Harms From Natural Gas Development Released - ‘The Rapidly Expanding Body Of Evidence Compiled Here Is Massive, Troubling And Cries Out For Decisive Action’  [PaEN]

-- University Of Pittsburgh School Of Public Health Studies Find Shale Gas Wells Can Make Asthma Worse; Children Have An Increased Chance Of Developing Lymphoma Cancer; Slightly Lower Birth Weights  [PaEN]

-- Senate Hearing: Body Of Evidence Is 'Large, Growing,’ ‘Consistent’ And 'Compelling' That Shale Gas Development Is Having A Negative Impact On Public Health; PA Must Act  [PaEN]

-- State Dept. Of Health Apologizes For Not Listening To Communities Suffering Health Impacts From Shale Gas Development; New Health Study Results ‘Just The Tip Of The Iceberg’  [PaEN]

-- State Dept. Of Health Invites Citizens To File Environmental Health Complaints Related To Natural Gas Development; Health Will Also Review Environmental Test Results  [PaEN] 

-- Environmental Health Project Finds Results ‘Very Concerning’ From University Of Pittsburgh Studies Showing Links Between Natural Gas Development And Lymphoma Cancer, Worsening Asthma Conditions, Lower Birth Weights  [PaEN]

-- Between The Lines Podcast: Pediatrician Dr. Ned Ketyer Explains The Results Of New Studies Of The Health Impacts Of Natural Gas Development On Children And Adults  [PaEN]

-- New University Of Chicago Medical Study Connects Natural Gas Development In PA To Real, Serious Human Health Outcomes In Comparison To New York State  [PaEN]

-- Environmental Health Project: PA’s Natural Gas Boom - What Went Wrong? Why Does It Matter?  What Can We Do Better To Protect Public Health?  [PaEN]

-- Presentations Now Available From Shale Gas & Public Health Conference In Nov. Hosted By PA League Of Women Voters & University Of Pittsburgh Graduate School Of Public Health   [PaEN]

-- Yale School Of Public Health Study Found PA Children 2 To 3 Times More Likely To Be Diagnosed With Leukemia If They Live Near Unconventional Shale Gas Facilities  [PaEN]

-- Study: Industry Data Shows Hazardous Air Pollutants Are ‘Ubiquitous’ In The Natural Gas Transmission System; More Justification For Robust Leak Prevention Programs   [PaEN]

-- Penn State Study: Potential Pollution Caused By Road Dumping Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater Makes It Unsuitable For A Dust Suppressant, Washes Right Off The Road Into The Ditch  [PaEN]

-- New Penn State Study: Brine Water Pumped From Played-Out Conventional Oil & Gas Wells And Used As Dust Suppressants, Winter Road Treatments Exceed Environmental, Health Standards, Just Like Conventional Oil & Gas Brine Water  [PaEN]

-- DEP Report Finds: Conventional Oil & Gas Drillers Routinely Abandon Wells; Fail To Report How Millions Of Gallons Of Waste Is Disposed; And Non-Compliance Is An ‘Acceptable Norm’  [PaEN]

-- Conventional Oil & Gas Well Owners Failed To File Annual Production/Waste Generation Reports For 61,655 Wells; Attorney General Continues Investigation Of Road Dumping Wastewater  [PaEN]

-- Public Source: ‘It’s Just Too Close:’ People Living Near Natural Gas Drilling, Industrial Facilities Suffer As State And Local Governments Fail To Buffer Homes

-- What It’s Like To Raise A Family In The Most Fracked County In PA - Washington County: PA Physicians For Social Responsibility [Video]

-- Environmental Health Project: Setback Distances And The Regulations We Need To Protect Public Health From Oil & Gas Facilities   [PaEN]

-- Senators Santarsiero, Comitta To Introduce Bill Increasing Setback Safety Zones From Shale Natural Gas Drilling Sites From 500 To 2,500 Feet, Based On Latest Science  [PaEN]

-- Inside Climate News: Gov. Shapiro Provides Fresh Support To Key Changes Recommended In 2020 Grand Jury Report To Tighten Regulation Of The Natural Gas Drilling Industry To Better Protect Public Health, Environment  [PaEN] 

-- Environmental Health Project: How DEP Issues Permits For Shale Gas Facilities Without Considering Cumulative Impacts - How New Facilities Will Add To Existing Pollution Loads And Impact The Area [PaEN]

-- DEP: Widespread Presence Of PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ In Fresh Water Leading Shale Gas Operators To Use Contaminated Water In Fracking Operations; DEP Doesn’t Require Routine PFAS Testing  [PaEN]

-- DEP Issued 754 Notices Of Violation For Defective Oil & Gas Well Casing, Cementing, The Fundamental Protection Needed To Prevent Gas Migration, Groundwater & Air Contamination, Explosions [PaEN]

-- Creating New Brownfields: Oil & Gas Well Drillers Notified DEP They Are Cleaning Up Soil & Water Contaminated With Chemicals Harmful To Human Health, Aquatic Life At 272 Locations In PA  [PaEN]

-- Republican Rep. Krupa Introduces HB 1656 To Ban Oil, Gas Wastewater Injection Wells To Protect The Public From Radioactive, Toxic Materials [PaEN]

-- Center For Rural Pennsylvania: Rural Population To Shrink 5.8%; Fewer Young People, More Older People; Current Policies Failed To Sustain Communities, Ensure Long-Term Rural Resiliency  [PaEN]

More Environmental & Health Impact Articles:

-- Click Here for more articles on oil and gas infrastructure impacts on health and the environment.

PA Oil & Gas Industry Public Notice Dashboards:

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - Oct. 28 to Nov. 3 - Fire At PA General Energy Shale Gas Well Pad; 5 More Abandoned Conventional Wells; Replugging Shale Gas Well  [PaEN] 

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - November 4  [PaEN]

-- DEP Posted 57 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In Nov. 4 PA Bulletin  [PaEN]

Related Articles This Week:

-- Gov. Shapiro, CNX Natural Gas Company Sign Statement Of Mutual Interests To Monitor Air Emissions At Drill Sites, Extend Safety Setbacks While Data Is Being Collected; DEP To Move Ahead With Some Reg Changes  [PaEN]

-- Evangelical Environmental Network Thanks Gov. Shapiro For Defending Children's Health Thru An Agreement With CNX Natural Gas; Believes In Repenting Of Sins, 2nd Chances  [PaEN]

-- Attorney General Henry Announces Criminal Charges Against Equitrans For 2018 Natural Gas Explosion That Destroyed Home In Greene County  [PaEN]

-- House Committee Hearing On Increasing Safety Setbacks Zones Around Natural Gas Facilities Heard About First-Hand Citizen Experiences On Health Impacts, From Physicians On Health Studies And The Gas Industry On Job Impacts  [PaEN]

-- Sen. Yaw, Republican Chair Of Senate Environmental Committee, Calls Bill To Reduce Shale Gas Industry Impacts On Health, Environment ‘Stupid’  [PaEN] 

-- University Of Pittsburgh Studies Of Shale Gas Development Health Impacts To Be Discussed At Nov. 14 Joint Meeting Of DEP Citizens Advisory Council, Environmental Justice Advisory Board  [PaEN]

-- PA League Of Women Voters, University Of Pittsburgh Graduate School Of Public Health Nov. 14 Shale Gas & Public Health Conference  [PaEN] 

-- Marcellus Drilling News: Mariner East 2X Natural Gas Liquids Pipeline Being Repaired After Dent Discovered In Chester County During Maintenance Check  [PaEN]

-- PUC Issues Emergency Order To PA American Water To Operate Troubled East Dunkard Water Authority In Greene County; Lawsuit Filed Alleging Water Tainted By Mine Drainage, Shale Gas Operations  [PaEN]

-- Philadelphia LNG Export Task Force Issues Report On The Best Ways To Increase Exports Of PA's Natural Gas; Minority Report Rebuts Need For LNG Facility, Outlines Impacts  [PaEN]

-- Protect PT Holds Nov. 11 Workshop On Living Near Shale Gas In Westmoreland County  [PaEN]  

[Posted: October 30, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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