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Bill would require two-mile space between Marcellus drill pads

April 4, 2011

Pennsylvania State House Representative Greg Vitali

Pennsylvania State House Representative Greg Vitali of Delaware County has introduced a bill that would require two-mile space between Marcellus drill pads.

His office released the following;

HARRISBURG, March 24 – State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware, today introduced H.B. 1211, which would require at least a two-mile space between natural gas drill sites in the Marcellus Shale formation, minimizing the impact of natural gas drilling on Pennsylvania’s landscape.

“Gas companies are drilling more wells than necessary and not considering their impact on the environment,” Vitali said. “By spacing wells sites at least two miles apart, we can limit the impacts on our environment and communities without impeding this quickly growing industry.”

Vitali chose the two-mile spacing because wells can be drilled a mile horizontally in each direction from a site, allowing most gas to be secured. Despite that, 63 wells have been drilled in a 9-square-mile area, and five separate wells pads are within a quarter-mile of each other in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County.

“Several acres of land need to be cleared for the drilling pad,” Vitali said. “Access roads, a water sediment basin and other infrastructure need to be installed and a high volume of truck traffic is required to transport drilling equipment and water to and from the drilling site. This is an intensely industrial operation.”

Vitali introduced a similar spacing bill, H.B. 2740, last legislative session.

House Bill 1211 is the second piece of legislation Vitali introduced this legislative session to limit gas drilling’s impact on the environment. House Bill 150 would impose a three-year moratorium on additional state forestland being leased for gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. The state has already leased about half of the 1.5 million acres of state forest that lie above the Marcellus Shale formation to gas drillers.

He’s also introduced House Bill 33 to tax Marcellus Shale natural gas production to fund environmental programs, assist local governments with costs related to the industry and help address a $4 billion structural shortfall in next year’s state budget.

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