Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lawmakers urge against Marcellus Shale permits

...and propose a heartening series of environmentally proactive bills for Pennsylvania

Alex Rose
Main Line Media News
March 12, 2010

State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166, of Haverford, recently joined legislators and environmentalists asking that Gov. Ed Rendell stop granting permits to drill in state forest land over the Marcellus Shale region, a huge deposit of natural gas lying under much of the state.
“We already have made available 692,000 acres and there could potentially be thousands of wells drilled to extract the gas,” said Vitali in a release. “We cannot lease any further state forest acreage without encroaching on the most sensitive lands, which include old-growth forests, habitat for endangered species and fragile ecosystems.”
Rendell spokesman Gary Tuma previously said a requirement of passing the last state budget was generating enough recurring revenue to help balance the budget for two fiscal years. That included $180 million worth of drilling leases in the 2010-11 budget, he said.

Vitali has entered legislation that would place a five-year moratorium on those leases. The State Forest Natural Gas Lease Moratorium Act would also confer sole discretion for additional leases to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources when the moratorium ends, and would require the DCNR to conduct an annual report on the impact gas drilling has on state forests.

State Rep. Bryan Lentz, D-161, of Swarthmore, meanwhile, introduced his own legislation this week that would establish a severance tax on natural gas and put the proceeds toward tax exemptions for green businesses.

Lentz’s bill would authorize the state Department of Community and Economic Development to establish 15 Keystone Green Zones in the state, similar to the Keystone Opportunity Zones that offer businesses a bevy of tax breaks for setting up shop.

In this instance, those breaks would go to businesses that manufacture energy-efficient products or products used in the renewable energy industry.

“I am proposing that we give companies a financial incentive to do business in Pennsylvania, which will produce good-paying jobs and brand the state a hot spot for this growing industry,” said Lentz, a Democratic candidate in the 7th Congressional District. “All the while, we’ll be reducing our impact on the environment and surrounding communities, and improving the quality of life for residents across Pennsylvania.”

Environmental attorney Gail Conner, another Democratic contender in the 7th Congressional District, also called for the closure of the so-called “Halliburton loophole” in the Safe Drinking Water Act that bars the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating hydraulic fracturing being used to mine natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region.

“The Safe Drinking Water Act in its current form allows the oil and gas industry to inject ‘undisclosed’ hazardous materials directly into or adjacent to our nation’s water supplies during the process of fracturing rock through drilling to release gas reserves,” said Conner. “These fracturing fluids pose a potential threat to human health and drinking water supplies.”

Like Vitali, Conner is calling for the restoration of jobs cut at the DEP and DCNR last year, as well as a moratorium on drilling leases.

She has also proposed a slew of permit application requirements, including full disclosure of chemicals used in fracking, and specifying locations for the source of water used and disposal of waste water.

Conner also said the public needs to be informed of a spill or other contamination within 24 hours and some financial remedy should be available for residents whose property is damaged by drilling.

“Protecting our environment and natural resources, and providing a voice for the residents in our communities, should not take a back seat to special interests,” said Conner. “The citizens of the commonwealth have a state constitutional right to clean air and water. I hope that our state leaders will uphold those rights intended to protect the citizens and our communities.”
LINK to source.

Commentary by Splashdown in red.


1 comment:

  1. Please do not permit the E T Rover Pipeline to install their pipelines in our neighborhoods. We live in a nice rural community, with the city of Lapeer just 6 miles to the north. We have 2 nice lakes on each side of our block with expensive Subdivision homes, a creek behind us, farm land across the street, home gardens and wells that could be harmed if this pipeline leaks. Let alone, the massive EXPLOSION this 42” Pipeline could cause. There have already been several pipelines that have failed for several different reasons. Not to long ago we felt the earthquake up here from the Cleveland, Ohio area.

    This Pipeline is unnecessary and not beneficial to our area and the State of Michigan. It would devalue our homes that we have worked so hard to maintain. We have paid all of our property taxes and voted to be good citizens - we have done the right things. We have owned this house and property for 34 years, and fixed our home up to hopefully be able to live in it for the next 10 or 15 years. We have paid off our mortgage, have a well with no water bills, we have Consumer’s Gas with reasonable gas bills and Electric Bills(because of an Energy Efficient Home). With being in our mid 60’s – this is what we have worked hard to accomplish so we could stay here in our home with our limited income and hoped to leave a decent inheritance for our children when we die. Our neighbors are also in their 60’s or older and cannot afford to move, fix up another home and have more expensive bills at this time in our lives – when we all did the right things. It is unfair that ET Rover can come in and put a Pipeline on our properties without our permissions – since it is unnecessary and not beneficial to us.

    Who is going to take care of our area if there is a MASSIVE EXPLOSION?

    Who is going to take care of our area if there are Pipeline leaks that harm our beautiful lakes, our creeks, our wells, our land?

    Who is going to take care of our area when our homes are devalued and we can’t get a decent price when we try to sell them or have a decent inheritance for our children?

    Are you the FERC, E T Rover, the Politicians going to care about us, our family, our kids, our land, our homes, our neighborhoods? I would hope that you would not want this done to you. Please do not allow E T Rover to put their Pipeline through our neighborhoods.


    Erle and Shirley Boone

    P.S. Please help us – we do not have much power against eminent domain that the Big Private Gas Corp. and Government is using. Like people are saying “we thought this was America



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