Vitali introduces ‘spacing bill’ to reduce Marcellus drilling’s impact

Vitali introduces ‘spacing bill’ to reduce Marcellus drilling’s impact

Well sites would have to be spaced two miles apart
 
HARRISBURG, Sept. 16 – State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware, today introduced H.B. 2740 that would minimize the impact of natural gas drilling on Pennsylvania’s landscape by requiring at least a two-mile space between drill sites in the Marcellus Shale formation.
 
“Natural gas drilling is an intensely industrial operation that threatens to alter the character of Pennsylvania’s countryside,” Vitali said. “Proper well spacing is critical to protect our land, air and water, and to efficiently develop the state’s vast gas resources.”
 
Presently, gas companies are drilling more wells than necessary and not considering the impact on the environment, Vitali said. He noted that in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, 63 wells have been drilled in a nine-square-mile area, and five separate wells pads are within a quarter mile of each other.
 
“Land has to be cleared around every drilling site, with links to pipelines and access roads,” Vitali said. “By spacing wells sites at least two miles part, we can limit the impacts on our environment and communities without impeding this quickly growing industry. However, if the current pattern continues and expands to other shale formations, the character of Pennsylvania’s countryside is in jeopardy.”
 
Vitali chose the two-mile spacing because wells can be drilled to mine horizontally in each direction from a site, allowing most gas to be secured.
 
Vitali said he also intends to file the language of this bill as an amendment to anticipated Senate legislation that would force unwilling land owners to allow gas drilling below their property if companies acquire the right to drill under a sufficient amount of surrounding acreage. The practice is known as forced pooling.
 
House Bill 2740 is the second piece of legislation Vitali introduced this term to limit gas drilling’s impact on the environment. House Bill 2235, which would impose a three-year moratorium on additional state forestland being leased for gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, passed the House in May and is awaiting consideration in the Senate.
 
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