Senator Casey Introduces Three Natural Gas Bills

The following is a press release from Senator Robert Casey regarding three bills he has reintroduced.

(1) S1215: Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (aka: The Frac Act)

(2) S S3964: Faster Action Safety Team Emergency Response Act (aka: FASTER)

(3) S3720: Marcellus Shale On-the-Job Training Act of 2010

Senator Casey’s release describes these bills. However, if you want to read the bills themselves, click here and type in the bill number or name in the appropriate location, or scroll through the list of legislators to find the person sponsoring the bill: http://thomas.gov/

NOTE: newly introduced bills may not be posted immediately. At the time I received this information the three bills described in this release are not yet on this site.

Ya’ll Get Together Now, Ya Hear?

Today I attended the Conservation PA event in Camp Hill, PA. I was sitting in the conference room among the other 100 or so attendees and trying to remember when I had first heard of the Marcellus Shale, or the term fracking. When I couldn’t dig up a memory of the beginning of my relationship with natural gas drilling in PA I realized how much of the last 2 years of my life have been entwined with this resource and the people whose lives it has been effecting.
While listening to the President of Penn Futures discuss the upcoming political battle for regulations and PA rulemaking in regards to natural gas drilling, I looked around me and studied the faces of others who were engaged in their own community fights against these energy giants. It was obvious from their eager listening responses that they were ready to take action and hoped to return home with new skills to use in their day to day battles with contaminated water, bad land leases, destroyed roadways and right to know laws. Somewhere in my head I was asking myself why this turnout wasn’t greater in numbers? I soon realized that each of these people represented their own communities and action groups and were intending to share the knowledge they would glean from todays event with those communities and groups. It was inspiring to meet other everyday people who had taken the time out of their lives to form a group of concerned citizens, just the way I had over a year ago.
Since moving to south central PA from north central PA I have felt out of touch with the current events of gas drilling. I have also become aware of how many PA citizens are living in areas where drilling is not happening and for this reason they are ignorant of the many problems and potential devastation this industry brings to our state. I am also encourage by how many of them, when given knowledge (the truth if you will) about this drilling process and all that surrounds it, able and ready to work together to a hopefully better end than what has been a very short-sighted and shaky beginning.
Keep on the sunny side.

Frack Act-Act Now!!!!

Congressman Carney has publicly stated that he isn’t ready to commit his vote to the Frack Act, but he might be willing to get off that fence to vote in favor if enough people – in and out of his district – tell him he should. Please consider sending him a message that he should vote for the Frack Act, which among other things will force the makers of the toxic chemical blends used to frack wells to disclose their specific recipes. This information can be critical to first responders treating those exposed to the frack fluids.

You can click on this link to get to his site: http://carney.house.gov/contact.shtml

My Turn by Joe Sestak

Pike County Courier > Opinion

MY TURN By Joe Sestak

Published: December 24, 2009

Caution required in gas drilling

I believe in the responsible development of Pennsylvania’s energy resources, including natural gas, as part of the transition to a cleaner, more renewable and more secure energy supply. In Pennsylvania alone, there are several hundred trillion cubic feet of natural gas — enough to supply this country’s demand for decades to come. Natural gas can boost our economy and cut our dependence on foreign oil. And it also causes less than half the carbon emissions of coal, allowing us to reduce our impact on climate change in the near term.

Our abundant natural resources are a blessing for our Commonwealth. We should never have to sacrifice our health and safety, clean air and water, natural lands, and communities to companies seeking access to our natural wealth. Clear regulations and strict accountability for violators can protect us from abuse and carelessness. Reasonable fees can offset the cost of these protections and provide a sustainable investment in Pennsylvania.

Done improperly, drilling can seriously harm our health and safety, environment, and land values. It should be done only with clear and transparent reporting and strong oversight. That’s why I have written to the Secretary of DEP urging the Department to make its reports on the oversight of the drilling operations readily available to the public.

It’s also important that Pennsylvanians know that this drilling, called hydrofracking, falls under the so-called “Halliburtron Loophole” that was slipped into President Bush’s energy bill in 2005 and allows energy companies to ignore the rules of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. These protections exist for a reason. Fracking involves using huge amounts of water laced with chemicals, and it has already contaminated drinking water in seven counties across Pennsylvania. That’s why I co-sponsored the FRAC Act to close this loophole. I also helped pass legislation calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to look into threats this drilling method poses to our water supply.

Right now, the Pennsylvania legislature and the Department of Environmental Protection have the power and responsibility to protect the people of Pennsylvania from potential harmful effects of drilling. Wastewater regulations that have been proposed by DEP are a start, but much more needs to be done.

New regulations should not favor, by grandfathering, the use of older, less capable treatment processes at the expense of encouraging use of state of the art facilities. Regulations should cover all major components of fracking wastewater so that harmful substances don’t end up in our streams and rivers. Furthermore, the Commonwealth owes it to this, and future, generations to make sure drilling does not cause irreparable harm to our natural resources, especially our protected state lands.

I believe the state legislature and DEP must establish clear and effective regulation prior to further expansion of drilling in order to decide how best to protect our citizens and our natural resources. There is no doubt in my mind that if proper forces come to bare this can be done, and done quickly, so that we can move into a new era of economic prosperity for the Commonwealth while ensuring Pennsylvanians that their health and natural resources are adequately protected.

I am not convinced we currently have strong enough environmental, health, and property safeguards — and I am not satisfied that people will have the access to just compensation should even the best safeguards fail.

Let’s take a lesson from an earlier generation of energy development. Acid mine drainage is the legacy of abandoned coal mines. It has left 2,500 miles of deteriorated streams and 250,000 acres of contaminated land in Pennsylvania at an expense of $15 billion to clean up.

We have a real opportunity in Pennsylvania to benefit from the resources of Marcellus Shale, one of the largest natural gas reserves on the planet. There is no reason to allow this bounty to ultimately turn out to be a net harm for our state and our families.

Let’s not cash in on our resources today in a way that causes disproportionate harm, brings little lasting benefit, and results in a greater cost in the future. This is our state, these are our resources. Let’s utilize them in a way that is best for all the people of Pennsylvania and the generations that follow.

Editor’s note: This statement was delivered by US Senate candidate Rep. Joe Sestak (D-7-PA) At an Environmental Quality Board Public Hearing on the Proposed Wastewater Treatment Requirements Regulations:

The Frac Act

This link will take you to a site that is tracking the Frac Act. You can go there now and then and see exactly where this bill stands and that very little has happened with it since it was introduced in June 2009.

http://www.govtrack.us/users/events.xpd?monitors=bill:s111-1215

The Frac Act is a set of bills that would help regulate and control the oil and gas drilling industries ability to bypass the Safe Water Drinking Act, The Clean Air Act and give the EPA the power to make regulations about the process of hydraulic fracturing. For more info you can check out these links.

http://www.propublica.org/feature/frac-act-congress-introduces-bills-to-control-drilling-609

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-1215

The Senate met on Nov. the 9th and the House meets on Nov. the 16th regarding this bill. If you are concerned with the loopholes that currently exist, which allow the gas and oil industry to get away with water pollution and well contamination (amongst other things) please contact your Senators and Congressmen about this importance of the Frac Act. Remember that this bill needs to go into action on a federal level (and is being voted on as such) so contact your federal representatives about it, not state.