Friday, June 18, 2010

Marcellus Shale drillers, developers given clear roadmap for keeping drinking water and streams safe

Marcellus Shale drillers, developers given clear roadmap for keeping drinking water and streams safe

Posting a copy of a release I got from Penn Future

(Harrisburg, PA - June 17, 2010) -- Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) today praised the members of the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) for passage of two key new regulations that will protect drinking water and streams and rivers from pollution from Marcellus Shale drilling and new development projects. The new rules on drilling will require that drillers treat their toxic and salt-laden wastewater to drinking water standards if they want to dispose of it in Pennsylvania?s waterways. The other rules will require some developers to maintain or create a 150 foot natural vegetative buffer beside Pennsylvania?s best rivers and streams.

The bipartisan IRRC vote on both sets of regulations was 4 - 1, with Chair Arthur Coccodrilli (appointed by the Senate Democratic leader), Vice Chair George D. Bedwick (appointed by the Democratic Speaker of the House), John Mizner (appointed by the Republican President Pro Tem of the Senate), and S. David Fineman (appointed by the Democratic Governor) all voting in the majority.
"The IRRC deserves praise for taking two giant steps in protecting safe drinking water and our rivers and streams," said Jan Jarrett, PennFuture’s president and CEO. "These updated rules give both the Marcellus Shale drillers and developers across the state a clear roadmap for water protection. Now it’s time to stop any excuses, and follow the rules.
"Frankly, I'm tired of the 'Yes, buts' from the drillers, and to a lesser extent from the development community," continued Jarrett. "They always claim they want to protect our environment and economy, but then they fight against commonsense regulations requiring them to do so. And the recent drilling accidents make it clear to every Pennsylvanian that we need strong regulations in place to protect the public, workers, and natural resources.
"That's why the Pennsylvania Senate must join the House in passing the freeze on new drilling in our State Forests," continued Jarrett. "We have leased as much of the forests as we can. Leasing any more would permanently damage our public forest land.
"I'm also tired of the refusal of the drillers to pay their fair share," continued Jarrett. "They pay a drilling impact fee in every other state with major natural gas deposits without a complaint – there’s no reason they shouldn’t pay it here. The legislature needs to enact a severance tax on the drillers, with dedicated portions of the revenue to go to Growing Greener, Fish and Boat Commission, Game Commission, other environmental agencies, and local communities 'hosting the drillers. Paying Pennsylvanians back for the enormous profits the drillers will make on our natural gas is not too much to ask, and it's time for the drillers to stop their intransigent behavior and agree."

The State Senate Environment Committee passed a resolution to delay implementation of the drilling regulations by two weeks and the House Committee passed a motion to delay the buffer, which will delay implementation. If the committees don’t disapprove of the regulations within 14 days, both will be reviewed by the Attorney General, then will be published and become law.
At the IRRC Meeting this morning, Reg 2783 and Reg 2806 passed by 4-1:
Independent Regulatory Review Commission
10:00 a.m., 333 Market St., 14th Floor Conference Room, Harrisburg

Public meeting to consider the following Regulations:

• Reg. No. 2673 PA Public Utility Commission #57-260: Abbreviated Procedure for Review of Transfer of Control & Affiliate Filings for Telecommunications Carriers

• Reg. No. 2783 Environmental Quality Board #7-440: Erosion and Sediment Control and Stormwater Management

• Reg. No. 2806 Environmental Quality Board #7-446: Wastewater Treatment Requirements

Senate Communications and Technology

10:00 a.m., Room 8E-B, East Wing

Personal Notes
1. I do not like the idea of a standard buffer, because it really depends on site conditions and nature of the system and type of engineering controls.
2. Bring the water to drinking water quality -  this sounds good - but how will this be done _ I would assume to be cost efficient this would require central treatment facilities.  It would not make much sense to go to a stream discharge, it would be a lot easier to establish central treatment facilities that treat and blend water - full recirculation system.
3. What are we going to do with the brine concentrate?

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