What, we have regulations in PA?

Once again the gas industry representatives make note that having drilling regulations for natural gas at the federal level is ridiculous because it is already regulated at the state level…….except that states like PA can’t seem to regulate it at a state level! But what can you expect when the governor and various other politician’s elections have been paid for and supported by the natural gas industry. They would like us to think that it is “that simple” because that would make things simple for them all the way through this 30-50 year process. The Frac Act needs to happen sooner rather than later.

House caucus hopes to call attention to natural gas resources

Thursday, October 22, 2009
By Daniel Malloy, Post-Gazette Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — “We are swimming in natural gas,” declared billionaire oil man T. Boone Pickens at a House of Representatives hearing yesterday.

And Pennsylvania is the deep end of the pool.

The Marcellus shale deposits constitute enormous potential for domestic fuel production, and Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, formed a natural gas caucus in the House to call bipartisan attention to the issue.

At the caucus’ first hearing yesterday — borrowing a room from the Science and Technology Committee — the keynote witness was Mr. Pickens, whose high-profile “Pickens Plan” advocates energy efficiency and domestic resource production as near-term goals.

“Natural gas is going to be the bridge to the next transportation fuel,” Mr. Pickens said.

Mr. Pickens said the United States is home to the equivalent of 350 billion barrels of oil in domestic natural gas reserves, and much of that is in Pennsylvania. Penn State professor Robert Watson estimated that in 10 years, the Marcellus shale could generate 175,000 jobs per year and $13 billion in the commonwealth.

In order for that to happen, the gas advocates argued against strict regulation for the industry and for incentives to promote the fuel.

Ray Walker, vice president for Marcellus shale driller Range Resources, said federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing, a method of extracting natural gas, would be a mistake, because it is already regulated at the state level and, he claimed, is environmentally sound when done correctly. He also argued against a proposed change in tax accounting methods for the industry.

Mr. Pickens said government can promote natural gas by giving incentives for companies to switch their diesel trucks to run on the cleaner-burning fuel over time. Such a measure, he said, can cut America’s oil imports in half.

“I went to the White House and they said, ‘It can’t be that simple,’ ” Mr. Pickens said. “But it is that simple.”

Advancing legislation is not that simple.

Natural gas is not addressed in the Waxman-Markey climate change bill that narrowly passed the House in June, and Mr. Murphy introduced a bill in May pushing for more efficiency and domestic fuel production from natural gas and offshore oil rigs — but it went nowhere.

He’s still holding out hope that some provisions for natural gas can make it into a final compromise energy bill, as the Senate has yet to move very far on climate change.

Mr. Murphy was able to bring in Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla., as co-chair of the natural gas caucus, which now boasts 45 members, Mr. Murphy said. More than a dozen congressmen from both parties attended the hearing — including Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Centre.

“This is what I think the nation expects us to do,” Mr. Murphy said after the hearing.

“There was no jockeying for position there. Everyone just wants to be on board. We have almost a 50-50 split of Republicans and Democrats, and we expect it’s going to continue to grow.

“This is good news. You’ve got people who, if you didn’t know what initial was after their name, you couldn’t tell, in terms of what questions they were asking, the support that they were offering and the optimism that they feel for America. That’s really something.”

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