Thursday, April 25, 2013

Today I Annouce My Plan For World Class Drilling Regulation & Enforcement In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's public has lost confidence in Governor Corbett's oversight of the gas industry.  This crisis in public confidence is caused by the Governor's opposition to a gas drilling tax, his Administration's failure to hear and investigate fully and respectfully concerns and complaints, to having too few DEP staff regulating the gas industry, and a softer enforcement approach that has included a 50% drop in violations issued to the gas industry since 2010.

To remedy this crisis in public confidence, Pennsylvania must turn the page on Corbett's failed oversight of the gas industry.  My plan for world class drilling regulation and enforcement turns that page. 

My plan would cut by 90% air pollution from drilling operations; protect fully rivers and streams from being polluted by drilling wastewater; prevent more drilling in state forests and state parks; and enact a gas drilling tax like West Virginia.  Most of my plan could be implemented through the regulatory authority of the Governor.  Some of it like the drilling tax requires new legislation.

You can read the details about the gas drilling plan that includes flaring, pits, and well completions here:


  1. John,

    Would be interested to hear more specific information about how you'd structure a severance tax, the numbers you would set your fees at, and what exactly you would consider "responsible" use of local zoning.

    Most of what you propose we would be happily supportive of. Hope that you don't beat up on us gas guys too much out on the campaign trail! Best of luck.


  2. How will you prevent drilling on State Forest lands where private citizens own the oil and gas rights? Will their ownership rights be respected, or will your $3 Million impact fee make their property worthless without paying them anything for them? How much you respect private property means a lot to many people in our State. The fact that the State owns the surface doesn't make the rights of the oil and gas owners any less valid.

  3. With all the discussion of drilling on state forest lands I wonder why the state has thrown in the towel on collecting royalties from publicly owned stream beds. One lease was signed in 2010 for 1500 acres of the Susquehanna in Bradford County. More details here
    Several well bores from producing wells go directly under the Wysox Creek but no lease and no royalties. The DCNR website clearly states that the Wysox Creek stream bed is public land requiring a gas lease, yet nothing has been done. I would like to hear at least some discussion of this issue at the state level.

  4. Concerned ScientistApril 29, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    John, I can see that you are in a tough position where many in the democratic party are opposed to shale gas development. But the tone of your position is a bit worrisome to me. I would love to see a line in your position statement that shale gas has actually improved matters from an environmental perspective and that you are just looking to maximize that benefit. I hope that you use this opportunity to lead and teach people the truth rather than play to their fears as I am sure some of your opponents will.

    I am not sure banning drilling on state forest lands makes much sense. Most of that land is already criss-crossed with roads, farms etc. It could be a chance to raise revenues for the state and fund programs that you support (such as building more renewables) without asking for any new taxes. But I guess you have already committed to that position. Moratoriums and bans imply that there is something really bad to be afraid of.

    1. Approximately 700,000 out of 2.1 million state forest acres have been leased or drilled already. The professional biologists and the independent forest certification agency has said further drilling would lead the state forest to lose its sustainable forestry certification. The loss of that certification would destroy thousands of timber jobs, because the wood must be certified to be marketable. Further drilling would also be in especially sensitive and precious areas of the state forest. We have reached the limits of drilling in the state forests.