The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and the Pennsylvania Environmental Foundation (PEC) have submitted a legislative proposal to the Corbett administration and state lawmakers "designed to help ensure safe and responsible Marcellus Shale drilling and gas extraction in Pennsylvania." The proposal sets forth detailed amendments to the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act to confer additional authority to regulate and manage deep shale and unconventional drilling techniques that were not contemplated when the law was enacted. The proposal was provided to Governor Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Commission and members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
The proposed amendments are based on the findings of a PEC report issued last year called “Developing the Marcellus Shale” which outline a series of environmental policy and planning recommendations for unconventional shale gas development. The PEC/CBF press release states: "These amendments are aimed at restoring public confidence in the industry’s ability and commitment to responsible drilling and environmental compliance. The proposal includes 50 specific amendments to the Act which reform the permit process to allow for greater stakeholder input and set clear environmental protection standards for the hydraulic fracturing process and the infrastructure that should be required for shale gas extraction."
The organizations propose to split the gas well drilling permit process into two phases that require enhanced collection and review of site-specific data prior to approval. The proposal also calls for a number of tighter restrictions in the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act.