FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011
PA Chamber: H.B. 1950 promotes responsible growth, oversight of Marcellus Shale industry
HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry today said the House-passed Marcellus Shale oversight bill (H.B. 1950) would ensure that the Commonwealth remains a competitive Marcellus Shale drilling state, while providing important protections for public health and the environment.
"House Bill 1950 reflects recommendations that were carefully and thoughtfully developed by the governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission after months of research, discussion and input on how to responsibly grow and regulate the industry, and bring jobs, business opportunities and additional revenue to the Commonwealth," said PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr, who served on the commission as vice chairman of its Economic and Workforce Development Subcommittee.
Barr said a key component of the House plan is its call for uniform regulatory standards at the state level.
"A confusing hodge-podge of local ordinances, even if well intended, would make it very difficult for drillers operating in multiple jurisdictions to be in compliance and to effectively and efficiently operate," he said. "Companies involved in Marcellus Shale drilling here strive to make sure they are in full compliance with laws and regulations; and citizens residing in communities where drilling activity is taking place want assurance that those companies are following the rules. The best way to ensure both is to adopt rules that are consistent throughout the Commonwealth."
Barr said H.B. 1950 would also provide counties and local municipalities where Marcellus Shale drilling is occurring with adequate money to address impacts.
Additionally, the bill would provide the state with needed revenue for transportation infrastructure, environmental protection and enforcement, emergency response and training, and health complaint tracking and investigating, among other areas related to the industry.
"Issues surrounding natural gas drilling are complex and often technical, and while areas of the state are flourishing as a result of this industry, there are many factors that could impact the level of drilling operations in Pennsylvania moving forward," Barr stressed, pointing out that natural gas prices, the availability of adequate infrastructure to get the product to market, and the operating environment for drillers in the state compared to that of neighboring drilling states all influence the growth of the industry.
"Given these realities and the tremendous economic potential of natural gas drilling, it is essential that oversight is done right," he said. "House Bill 1950 would foster the real and measurable benefits now being realized in the Commonwealth in a manner that effectively addresses all concerns and considerations inherent with the industry."
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state’s largest broad-based business advocacy organization, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of Business™.