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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 5, 2021 12:52 PM
From: Representative Scott Conklin
To: All House members
Subject: Safe natural gas wells, safe communities
Since natural gas companies recognized that they were able to realize profits by extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation, well drilling operations have brought employment opportunities to many areas of the Commonwealth. Along with these opportunities, they have also brought an increased risk of drilling-related accidents at well sites.  
Unfortunately, Pennsylvania law does not address need for communities and businesses to work together with well-operators on the local level to create onsite teams of trained professionals prepared to act quickly should an emergency arise. These teams will help to protect the health, safety and property of workers, businesses, and members of the community, working together to stop an emergency from becoming a crisis. 
To address this issue, 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 always in-place 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 previously introduced during the 2019-20 legislative session as House Bill 819.