Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bill would require two-mile space between Marcellus drill pads

State Rep. Greg Vitali

"Bill would require two-mile space between Marcellus drill pads
HARRISBURG, March 24 – State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware, today introduced H.B. 1211, which would require at least a two-mile space between natural gas drill sites in the Marcellus Shale formation, minimizing the impact of natural gas drilling on Pennsylvania's landscape.
"Gas companies are drilling more wells than necessary and not considering their impact on the environment," Vitali said. "By spacing wells sites at least two miles apart, we can limit the impacts on our environment and communities without impeding this quickly growing industry."
Vitali chose the two-mile spacing because wells can be drilled a mile horizontally in each direction from a site, allowing most gas to be secured. Despite that, 63 wells have been drilled in a 9-square-mile area, and five separate wells pads are within a quarter-mile of each other in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County.

"Several acres of land need to be cleared for the drilling pad," Vitali said. "Access roads, a water sediment basin and other infrastructure need to be installed and a high volume of truck traffic is required to transport drilling equipment and water to and from the drilling site. This is an intensely industrial operation."

Vitali introduced a similar spacing bill, H.B. 2740, last legislative session.

House Bill 1211 is the second piece of legislation Vitali introduced this legislative session to limit gas drilling's impact on the environment. House Bill 150 would impose a three-year moratorium on additional state forestland being leased for gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. The state has already leased about half of the 1.5 million acres of state forest that lie above the Marcellus Shale formation to gas drillers.

He's also introduced House Bill 33 to tax Marcellus Shale natural gas production to fund environmental programs, assist local governments with costs related to the industry and help address a $4 billion structural shortfall in next year's state budget."

Overall My Comments
1. I like the idea of taxing production - but the money should not just go to the environmental fund.
2. The money should not go to bail out a blotted structural shortfall in the budget.  We need to solve our own problems with cuts in benefits, pensions, etc.  This is a tough decision, but this is what needs to be done.
3. The Money should not go to local governments to address industry issues - the industry should address these issues via local fees, bonds, and agreements.  If the money goes to local government this should go towards energy efficiency, job programs, implementing zoning and planning, implementing stormwater management, implementing need improvements in water and sewers and not road improvements for the benefit of the industry - The industry can pay for this work.
4. Permit permit fees, annual fees, fines, and bonding should be increased to cover the costs for the man-power to review, enforce, and inspect.
This revenue should be invested in "Green Building Projects", "Energy Efficiency", " Conservation- Energy - Water, etc", "Implementing Alternative Energy", Installing Geothermal Heating systems, Fixing Private Wells that are already contaminated prior to drilling or poorly constructed that at as "leaky points" into the groundwater aquifer and reforestation for carbon sequestering. 
Regarding the 2 mile radius - The major problem with this is that it creates inefficiency in extracting the gas and would force the issue of force pooling on our citizens.   The best estimate is that the efficiency of gas removal may only be about 10% of the available gas.  These arbitrary fixed radii does not address the issue that the gas is not everywhere the formation is located and the formation is not homogeneous and isotropic.  The spacing issue would not have prevented Gas Migration - but good steel casing placement, cement bonding, inspectors on-site, and more oversight would have made a difference.

1 comment:

  1. A common response to this post has been

    1. Agreed
    2. Where is the science?