Thursday, May 6, 2010

League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Position On Marcellus Shale

PA League of Women Voters, presents recommendations on Marcellus Shale natural gas development.  There position paper can be found outline at
It was adopted by the Organization on May 1, 2010\

I believe the organization took - 6 months - the position statement is 1 page long - very concise

a. promote the use of best management practices, improve communications, and increase regulatory staff
b. develop jobs and local based economic development - but not at the cost of tourism
c. improving fee structure to actual cost for regulatory oversight, plugging wells
d. impose a severance tax with moneys used for the following:

1.preservation and enhancement of natural resources
2.monitoring and protecting public health
3.escrow fund to support community redevelopment when industry fades
4. research on the effects and economic impact
Sorry - I have to comment here - what about lowering property taxes ???? 

e. Revise regulations to

1.improve transparency
2. provide public input
3.extend time lines and parameters for water supply testing - but they did not seem to provide a recommendation
4.balance mineral owner and surface owners rights
5.develop an efficient oversight system to track and report violations

After reading all the materials they used to develop this position, I was hoping for more and here is the more.

Just my thoughts
1. Better and more comprehensive standards for well construction and on-site testing and certification.
2. Severance tax, portion of fees, and a significant portion of fines- this should be used to fund and provide resources to the communities were gas is being developed, support Growing Green and Environmental Projects, support alternative energy, lower property taxes so homeowners can make energy and efficiency improvements, fund reforestation programs, fund land reclamation on mine land, clean up brownfields, work on stormwater problems, and clean up AMD.  

It would be nice to use the funds to preserve features - but we need the funds for major infrastructural changes to improve efficiency and decrease dependence on energy sources from other countries

All the four items they proposed do not make sense to me - the items they proposed should come from the fees not the severance tax. 

The funds should not be used to research the effects or for economic analysis - there are other research needs that are more critical that the industry could fund.

3. Revise regulations - they seem to forgot construction standard changes, but I do not see how regulations are going to balance subsurface and surface rights - I believe that has been dealt with by case law.   Develop oversight system - again I do not think this a regulatory role- but administration that should be covered by fees and fines.

Other items
20 Facts and 20 Questions

Marcellus Shale Study Guide- Now this is impressive !
I am not on-board with their position - but the Study Guide is very good - I am not 100% complete with my review, but it seems comprehensive.

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