Pennsylvania DEP, gas companies talk about drilling regulations in light of Marcellus Shale-related boom
By DONALD GILLILAND
May 13, 2010
More than 90 technical experts on Marcellus Shale from 40 companies involved with natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania sat down with technical staff from the state Department of Environmental Protection Thursday to review new, tougher drilling regulations.
The current oil and gas regulations were written for shallow wells, not the deep wells and millions of gallons of water employed in Marcellus drilling.
DEP Secretary John Hanger addressed the group. “They needed to hear from me that these rules are going to be enforced strongly,” said Hanger. “The companies have a key role here. They need to have a culture here in Pennsylvania that accepts the importance of rules and respects government oversight. Companies that have a culture of contempt or seeking shortcuts are going to have a lot of problems with me.
“It’s a world-class gas resource,” said Hanger, “and we need a world-class regulatory system to match it.”
Industry leaders echoed that after the meeting. Strengthening the regulations on drilling in Pennsylvania “absolutely has to be done right, and it absolutely has to be done now,” said Ray Walker, senior vice president of Range Resources Corp. in Cannonsburg and chairman of the Marcellus Shale Coalition. ...
Walker said tougher regulations are better for the industry in the long run. “It’s a case of pay now or pay a lot, lot more later,” he said. “Problems cost money. We want to do it right the first time.” ...
Multiple private wells in Dimock Twp. in Susquehanna County have been contaminated with natural gas after Cabot Oil & Gas Inc. began Marcellus drilling in the area.