New Pennsylvania Impact Fee Law to “Regulate” Marcellus Industry

by Duane Nichols on February 15, 2012

Pennsylvania now has a comprehensive Impact Fee law to regulate, to some degree, the drilling and fracking for oil and/or natural gas. This 174-page bill, HB1950, was debated and approved by both the House and Senate of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, and was sent to Governor Tom Corbett for signature. It was signed into law on February 13th. This new Pennsylvania law makes problematic the rights of municipalities to exercise authority over gas development in their jurisdiction.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in their recent editorial said this:

There’s a lot wrong with the new state law regulating the Marcellus Shale gas drilling industry, but lawmakers got one thing right: putting oversight in the hands of Pennsylvania‘s Public Utility Commission. Its jurisdiction includes electricity, natural gas, telecommunications, water and truck and rail safety. It seems logical to add the growing deep-well drilling activities to the PUC’s purview.

Under the law passed last week, the PUC will be responsible for keeping track of the number of wells, making sure they meet regulatory standards, collecting the fees associated with their operation and deciding when municipal ordinances don’t comply with state standards. The most controversial task on that list will be determining which local rules are consistent with state regulation.

And, according to Dorothy Bassett “[The bill] includes verbiage that says that when a patient comes in, sick due to exposure to chemicals, doctors have to request in writing info on [the chemicals patients might have been] exposed to and then have to keep it confidential.  The industry doesn’t have to reveal compounds that have formed when all these chemicals and materials from underground come together, nor do they have to report exposure to heavy metals, radioactive substances, etc., from below.”

Further comment comes from Maura Stephens of TruthOut, “Given the problems with airborne and waterborne carcinogenic and neurotoxic substances from this industry’s open pits of toxic wastes, compressor stations, and the like, this means that entire communities will still be exposed to chemicals that one or more people have had to see a doctor for, and that the doctors will have to keep it quiet while the communities are at risk.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

D. Nichols February 17, 2012 at 10:07 pm

A Leading Public Health Official Says The New Pennsylvania Impact Fee Law Violates Medical Ethics —

Dr. Jerome Paulson, Professor of Pediatrics & Public Health at George Washington University in Washington, DC, says that a law that blocks the ability of the medical profession from collecting and sharing information openly means that we will not be able to fulfill our obligations and abide our oath.


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