Shale Gas

PEC is arguably the strongest and most consistent voice in the state on the regulation of the shale gas industry. While the industry poses significant economic benefits, it can also serve as a detriment to our environment.

The development of natural gas from shale formations is one of the most complicated and critical environmental issues that Pennsylvania has ever faced. While shale gas has considerable economic significance, there is equal potential for irreparable damage to the natural resources of our Commonwealth.

PEC is arguably the strongest and most consistent voice in Pennsylvania for robust and actionable regulation of the shale gas industry. Our body of work—reports, testimony, and advocacy on regulation and legislation—reflects our resolute position on proactive oversight. We have pushed for mandatory setbacks, greater planning, public disclosure, groundwater protections, controls on waste and wastewater, public health research, stronger bonding and fines, and greater enforcement.

It is imperative to ensure that shale gas development does not proceed as so many extractive industries in Pennsylvania have over the last 200 years; the Commonwealth continues to deal with the costs and impacts of this legacy every day.

While it holds the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our state, shale gas will not be the final turning point in our energy future. We still must look today toward energy conservation, efficiency, and, most importantly for PEC, changing the generation mix to low-impact sources to get us to the energy future we must all achieve.

April 18, 2016

PEC Sends Joint Letter to IRRC Urging the Approval of DEP’s Chapter 78 Drilling Regulations

April 18, 2016
George D. Bedwick, Chairman
John F. Mizner, Vice Chairman
W. Russell Faber
Murray Ufberg
Dennis A. Watson
Independent Regulatory Review Commission
333 Market Street, 14th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101

Re: No. 3042 Environmental Quality Board #7-484
Environmental Protection Performance Standards at Oil and Gas Well Sites

Dear Commissioners:
On behalf of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (Pennsylvania Office), Pennsylvania Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, we are writing to respectfully ask your approval of proposed final rulemaking (No. 3042 Environmental Quality Board #7-484) slated for consideration by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission on April 21, 2016.

As the four environmental organizations represented on Governor Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission (2011), we believe the proposed final rulemaking is appropriate and essential to modernizing the Commonwealth’s long-outdated regulations, and for ensuring greater protections for our communities and public resources.

This rulemaking, authorized by Act 13 of 2012 and other environmental statues, is the culmination of an unprecedented public process. At every step, the public, industry, environmental, local government, and other interests have been afforded full opportunity to participate in the rulemaking’s development.

There is a critical need for finalizing this rulemaking, grounded not only on statutory overhaul of the Oil & Gas Act, but also extraordinary change in industry practices and impacts, concerns about current and future legacy issues borne by the Commonwealth, and the ongoing experience of incidents that have occurred across our state over the past ten years.

As with any rulemaking, there will be disagreement between interested parties. It is the job of the Department of Environmental Protection to solicit and consider comments received, and, based on their expertise and the laws of the Commonwealth, deliver proposed regulations they believe reasonable and necessary for the protection of the environment. Even though we could argue for further strengthening of the proposal, we recognize that the citizens of the Commonwealth are far better served by having this rulemaking approved and enforced.

We believe the Department of Environmental Protection have done their job, and have met the key environmental protection goals endorsed by the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission and
recognized in Act 13 more than four years ago.

We again ask that you approve the proposed final rulemaking. Thank you for your consideration.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Pennsylvania Office
Pennsylvania Environmental Council
The Nature Conservancy, Pennsylvania Chapter
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

April 11, 2016

PEC Restates Support for DEP Proposed Final Rulemaking for Oil and Gas Operations

To: Members of the Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee

Re: April 12, 2016 Meeting of the Committee

Dear Senators:

On behalf of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC), I am writing to restate our support for the Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed Final Rulemaking (Chapter 78 and 78a) for oil and gas operations. Attached is a letter PEC sent to both the Environmental Quality Board and Independent Regulatory Review Commission on January 26, highlighting the unprecedented public and industry engagement in the process.

We urge the Committee to support this rulemaking, which is expressly compelled by Act 13 of 2012 and other environmental protection statutes of the Commonwealth. For that reason, we also wish to express our opposition to Senate Bill 1101 (P.N. 1271), which would negate the proposed Final Rulemaking with respect to conventional oil & gas operations.

In addition, we oppose Senate Bill 1195 (P.N. 1677), which will be considered by the Committee tomorrow. This legislation would further extend legislative review of the Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed implementation of the federal Clean Power Plan. Extension of the review timeframe puts Pennsylvania at further risk of failing to submit a plan on time to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The consequence of such failure will result in Pennsylvania being subject to a federally-imposed implementation plan. Paradoxically, this legislation might undo its own purpose to ensure that Pennsylvania charts its own course for compliance with federal law.

Thank you for your consideration.

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