PennEnvironment: Governor’s Marcellus Proposal Not Strong Enough

For Immediate Release

PennEnvironment today issued the following statement from Clean Water Advocate Erika Staaf in response to Gov. Corbett’s Marcellus Shale proposal:

“PennEnvironment believes the Governor’s proposal does not go nearly far enough to protect the environment from the deleterious effects of Marcellus Shale gas extraction. We had major concerns with portions of the Governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission final report, and this proposal appears to draw heavily from the report’s recommendations.

“Regarding the impact fee proposal, Gov. Corbett appears to be out of step with own party, whose House and Senate members have supported proposals that include funding for critical Growing Greener-style environmental programs.

“Meanwhile, the proposal allocates impact fee money to environmental cleanup, which is far more expensive than pollution prevention. Wouldn’t a true fiscal conservative set stringent safety and environmental standards on the front end to avoid expensive cleanup that will likely be paid by taxpayers on the back-end?

“Additionally, some provisions included in the proposal will not adequately protect our most critical natural resources, despite the aim to do so. The scientific community has pointed to the need for setbacks that prohibit gas wells within 5,000 feet of homes and other buildings, drinking water sources and other water bodies in order to fully protect public health and environment. At 300, 500, and 1,000 feet, the Governor’s plan does not go nearly far enough.

“While PennEnvironment recognizes some aspects of Gov. Corbett’s proposal appear to move in the right direction environmentally, much of the proposal uses broad brushstroke language. As always, the devil is in the details, and we will need to see more specific bill language before we can determine whether we support some of these items.

“We look forward to working with members of the House and Senate to swiftly pass the strongest possible environment and public health protections from Marcellus Shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania.”