Governor Corbett Signs Historic Marcellus Shale Law

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Governor Corbett Signs Historic Marcellus Shale Law

Governor Tom Corbett has signed House Bill 1950, the Marcellus Shale bill, into law. The bill enhances protection of our natural resources through stronger environmental standards, authorizes counties to adopt an impact fee, and builds upon efforts to help move Pennsylvania toward energy independence.

The historic measure is the first comprehensive re-write of the state’s Oil and Gas Act since 1984. It contains much of what Corbett outlined in his Marcellus Shale proposal last October. His plan followed the work of the Governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission. House Bill 1950 contains 24 of the legislative recommendations offered by the advisory commission.

“This growing industry will provide new career opportunities that will give our children a reason to stay here in Pennsylvania,” Corbett said. “Thanks to this legislation, this natural resource will safely and fairly fuel our generating plants and heat our homes while creating jobs and powering our state’s economic engine for generations to come.”

The new law enhances environmental standards by:

  • Increasing well-setback distance from 100 feet to 300 feet for streams, rivers, ponds and other water bodies, and from 200 feet to 500 feet from buildings and private water wells and to 1,000 feet for public drinking water systems.
  • Expanding an unconventional operator’s “presumed liability” for impairing water quality from 1,000 feet to 2,500 feet from a gas well, and extends the duration from 6 months to 12 months.
  • Enhancing water quality replacement standards to meet Safe Drinking Water Act  standards.
  • Enabling DEP to revoke permits in a more efficient manner to deal with imminent safety or environmental concerns.
  • Increasing blanket bonds from $25,000 up to $600,000.
  • Providing for strong, uniform and consistent statewide environmental standards – building upon and incorporating the best practices used by industry leaders.
  • Enhancing hydraulic fracturing disclosure, including online posting through FracFocus.org.

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