Update on Pennsylvania Governor's Marcellus Shale Commission Recommendations

This post was written by Ariel Nieland and Nicolle Snyder Bagnell.

In Pennsylvania, Governor Corbett's Marcellus Shale Commission met on Friday, July 15, 2011 to review and vote on a list of recommendations compiled by various government, industry and environmental stakeholders over the past four months regarding various regulatory issues in Pennsylvania. The Commission ultimately approved a set of 96 recommendations and is now in the process of preparing a report to be presented to Gov. Corbett this Friday, July 22, 2011. The list of recommendations will be made available to the public only after the Governor has reviewed them.

According to news reports from those in attendance at the meeting on Friday, some of the major topics and recommendations included the following:

  • Enacting an impact fee (no specific amount recommended)
  • Allowing for forced pooling
  • Increasing setbacks from wells to 500 ft. and up to 1000 ft. near public water sources
  • Extending a well operator's presumptive liability for pollution or water loss from 1,000 feet to 2,500 feet.
  • Doubling the fines for environmental violations
  • Creating an intrastate pipeline system
  • Encouraging development of ethylene processing plants
  • Minimizing disruption to surface area in state forest lands
  • Evaluating the need to reconnect railroad spurs to aid the industry
  • Locating national gas fueling stations at set distances along highways
  • Advocating a regional approach to work force training
  • Requiring well pads to have a 911 address
  • Providing for specialized firefighter training under the state fire commissioner's office
  • Having a "one-stop" agency to expedite the gas pipeline permitting process
  • Increasing penalties for violations of the Oil and Gas Act
  • Creating a public health registry to track health of residents living in proximity to wells