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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 31, 2019 10:24 AM
From: Representative Scott Conklin
To: All House members
Subject: Safe natural gas wells, safe communities
Since the discovery of the Marcellus Shale formation, well drilling operations have dramatically increased throughout the northern and western regions of the Commonwealth. Sadly, with the increase in well drilling operations comes a greater chance of drilling-related accidents at well sites. However, current Pennsylvania law does not require well operation response teams despite the need for an onsite team of trained professionals who are prepared to act quickly during emergency situations where seconds count.

In light of the above, I will be reintroducing legislation that empowers the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Industry to establish regulations as they relate to response teams employed in operations surrounding the drilling and production of oil and gas wells. My legislation will allow dedicated, certified, trained professional response teams to be in place at all times during exploration drilling and any time prior to well completion. Additionally, it requires the ongoing training of response team members and first responders. Finally, it will ensure that local first responders, L&I and the state response center are contacted in a timely manner during an emergency.

Imposing criteria to ensure experienced response teams are up to date with training and procedures, have state-of-the-art communications technology and are state certified will promote safety on the job and provide a sense of security to the community in which the well is located. If my legislation is enacted, Pennsylvanians may rest assured that a response team will be there to act immediately, securing the site and contacting first responders in situations where time is paramount.

Please join me in ensuring the safety of both workers at well sites and citizens in nearby communities.

This legislation was introduced during the 2017-18 legislative session as House Bill 1729, Printer’s Number 2314.

Introduced as HB819