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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: April 28, 2021 02:10 PM
From: Senator Steven J. Santarsiero and Sen. Carolyn T. Comitta
To: All Senate members
Subject: Increase Setbacks from Natural Gas Industry Activity
In the near future, we will be introducing legislation that would increase the distance from buildings and water supplies to unconventional natural gas drilling operations.  As highlighted in the Attorney General’s 43rd statewide investigative grand jury report, the health effects from industry activity are “magnified by proximity.”

Currently, the 2012 Oil and Gas Act prohibits unconventional well drilling within 500 feet of a building or private water well, and within 1000 feet of a public water supply well, surface water intake, reservoir, or other water supply extraction point used by a water purveyor without the consent of the owner in either case.
A 2016 study led by health researchers at the University of Pittsburgh examined the adequacy of unconventional natural gas drilling setbacks in the three largest and most heavily drilled natural gas plays in the U.S.  The study looked at air pollution, blowouts and evacuations, and thermal modeling and found that “(C)urrent natural gas well setbacks in…the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania…cannot be considered sufficient in all cases to protect public health and safety.
Therefore, our legislation will increase the distance to buildings and water wells to 2,500 feet and 5,000 feet to reservoirs, schools and hospitals.

Please join us in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as SB650