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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: February 8, 2017 11:39 AM
From: Representative Robert F. Matzie
To: All House members
Subject: Legislation Providing for Increased Setback Requirements for Unconventional Gas Wells (House Bill 2366 of 2015-2016)
In the near future, I will be reintroducing legislation from last session (House Bill 2366) to provide for additional unconventional gas well location restrictions.

Specifically, this legislation would amend Section 3215 of Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to prohibit the drilling of unconventional gas wells within 4,000 feet of any existing dam or reservoir. In addition, the measure would prohibit the drilling of unconventional gas wells within 2,000 feet (measured horizontally) of any existing water well, surface water intake, or water supply extraction point used by a water purveyor without the written consent of the water purveyor.

Recently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers evaluated the potential impacts associated with the development of the Barnett Shale. The Barnett Shale formation is located in Texas and is rich with natural gas; however, a portion of the formation lies beneath the Joe Pool Dam. The study relied on published data and site-specific data which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used when investigating the possible impacts that drilling, hydraulic fracturing, the injection of fluids, and the extraction of natural gas may have on the structural integrity of the dam. Upon the completion of the study, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that the current 3,000- foot exclusion zone surrounding the dam is not sufficient and should be increased to 4,000 feet to further ensure the safety of the dam and corresponding lake, as well as the health and safety of residents living in close proximity to the dam. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is also in the process of attempting to limit induced seismicity by limiting the number of injection wells within five miles of the dam.

I believe that we should take similar appropriate measures to further ensure the health and safety of Pennsylvania residents and their communities by increasing the setback distances for natural gas operations relative to existing dams and reservoirs.

I hope you will join me in supporting this legislation.

Former House Bill 2366 of 2015-2016 - Previous Co-Sponsors - DERMODY, MARSHALL, VITALI and M. DALEY

Introduced as HB696