MSC in Post-Gazette: Pa. Drillers Voluntarily Adhere to More Stringent Setback Rules

A recent op-ed (“Fracking Near Schools: DEP Fails to Keep Drillers a Healthy Distance From Children,” Aug. 24), aimed at creating fear about shale development, is riddled with misinformation and verifiably false claims. Your readers deserve fact-based information, especially with regard to the numerous federal, state and local regulations that ensure energy development in Pennsylvania is carried out safely.

Act 13, a bipartisan energy regulation modernization law which created a special impact tax that’s generated more than $850 million in new revenue, enhanced setback requirements of 300 to 1,000 feet from water wells and springs and 500 feet from structures (i.e., homes, barns, schools). And while the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rolled back these enhanced setback requirements, industry remains committed to adhering to the more stringent setbacks because it’s the right thing to do.

And consider these critical facts: 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 nonprofit organization — has touted Pennsylvania’s strong regulatory framework and highlighted the state’s setback requirements as sound.

Compared with other energy-producing states, Pennsylvania’s setback requirements are among the nation’s most stringent. Efforts to further increase the state’s already stringent requirements would only restrict Pennsylvania land- and mineral-owners’ right to responsibly develop their energy resources and provide no additional safety or environmental benefits.

Erica Clayton Wright
Marcellus Shale Coalition
North Fayette

NOTE: Click HERE to view this letter online.