Marcellus Minutes is a subscription-based newsletter sent to all subscribers registered through the Marcellus Minutes website that contains information on legislation including bill tracking, committee hearings and news from the Capitol in Harrisburg. Access to the website is free and provided to those directly involved and those with an interest in Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry.

See the 5 pieces of legislation introduced last week.

Five pieces of legislation were introduced this week:
HB 150 (Vitali) This bill would establish a 3 year moratorium on state forest lands. The Department of Conservation & Natural Resources is required to conduct a Comprehensive Environmental Impact Review. To read the co-sponsorship memo, click here.
HB 971 (George) This bill would require the DEP to inspect the well site during each of the phases of drilling.  Also, the legislation would extend the rebuttable presumption of a well operator’s liability that is available in cases involving pollution of a nearby water supply to cases involving a diminution in a nearby water supply. It would also extend the scope of rebuttable presumption from a water supply within 1,000 feet of an oil or gas well to a water supply within 2,500 feet. Companies would be required fully disclose the contents of the chemicals in the fluid products used for hydraulic fracturing (“fracing”).  The legislation also updates the bond amount to cover the actual cost of service. Finally, this legislation will clarify that local governments shall continue to possess the traditional zoning power to reasonably regulate the time and place of oil and gas activities and is prohibited only from regulating any methods used in oil and gas activities. To read the co-sponsorship memo, click here.
SB 601 (Yaw) This bill increases the distance for the presumption of liability for contamination of a water supply within 12 months after completion or alteration of the well from 1,000 feet to 2,500 feet. The legislation would also increase the distance from a Marcellus well and an existing building or water supply from 200 feet to 500 feet. In addition to the setbacks, the permit applicant is required to forward a copy of the plan to:
• the surface landowner;
• coal owner if coal rights have been severed from the surface;
• all surface landowners within 2,500 feet of the Marcellus well location; and
• the municipality where the proposed well is located and a municipality within 2,500 feet
from the proposed Marcellus well location.
The bill would also ensure that a facility which seeks a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for treating and discharging wastewater from oil and gas activities is operated by a competent and qualified individual. The bill would allow the department to establish additional protective measures for the storage of hazardous chemicals or material intended to be used on the well drilling site within 500 feet of any such stream, spring, body of water, or wetland. It would specifically take into account if the storage affects sources used for public drinking water supplies or whether the proposed well location is within a flood plain. Lastly, the bill would require the department to ensure that a restored or replaced water supply meets applicable water quality standards consistent with the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Pennsylvania Safe Drinking Water Act and pre-drilling or alteration water quality standards as determined by the department.  To read the co-sponsorship memo, click here.
SB 602 (White, MJ) This bill would raise the bonding requirements for abandoned wells.  To read the co-sponsorship memo, click here.
SB 744 (Yaw) This bill amends county assessments by adding that natural gas royalty interests from the Marcellus Shale formation are subject to various taxes.

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