MSC in Standard Speaker: Pa. has a Strong Regulatory Framework

A recent article, “New study indicates gas drilling could impact rivers, streams,” Nov. 16, about the safe and tightly regulated development of natural gas was unfortunately short on actual facts.

Despite the paper’s suggestive headline, Wilkes professor Ken Klemow makes clear his new study has “not proven anything about whether shale gas development is affecting streams or not.”

Your readers deserve the facts, especially with regard to the numerous regulations that ensure shale development in Pennsylvania is carried out safely.

First, a recent Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) report underscores the fact that regional water quality is improving alongside natural gas production. Since 2010, in fact, SRBC has monitored actual water quality in the basin and found no impact to the watershed’s quality as a result of shale development.

Second, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s exhaustive report released earlier this year makes clear that shale development can and does occur alongside major water bodies without environmental impacts.

While Mr. Klemow “hopes the study will lead to is the natural gas industry using best practices,” he should know that the industry is indeed using best practices especially related to water reuse and recycling technologies.

Here are several additional facts to consider, which were omitted from this new “study”: In Pennsylvania alone, there are nearly 70 regulations specific to shale development. Additionally, the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations — a national independent non-profit organization — has touted Pennsylvania’s strong regulatory framework.

What’s more, compared to other energy producing states, Pennsylvania’s setback requirements are among the nation’s strictest. Specifically, Act 13, a bipartisan energy regulation modernization law enhanced setback requirements of 300 to 1,000 feet from water sources. And while the state Supreme Court overturned these enhanced setback requirements, the industry continues to adhere to these strong regulations because it’s the right thing to do.

John Augustine
Marcellus Shale Coalition
Mountain Top

NOTE: Click HERE to view this letter online.