PRIOR PRINTER'S NOS. 1238, 1328

PRINTER'S NO.  1723

  

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA

  

SENATE BILL

 

No.

1100

Session of

2011

  

  

INTRODUCED BY SCARNATI, CORMAN, BROWNE, VOGEL, SMUCKER, D. WHITE, BRUBAKER, PIPPY, MENSCH, YAW AND PICCOLA, MAY 16, 2011

  

  

SENATOR CORMAN, APPROPRIATIONS, RE-REPORTED AS AMENDED, OCTOBER 26, 2011   

  

  

  

AN ACT

  

1

Amending Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated

2

Statutes, imposing a natural gas impact fee and consolidating

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3

the Oil and Gas Act with modifications relating to

4

definitions, well permits, well location restrictions,

5

protection of water supplies, well reporting requirements,

6

bonding, enforcement orders, penalties, civil penalties and

7

local ordinances; providing for containment, for

8

transportation regulations, for emergency response

9

information and for model ordinance; providing for a model

10

zoning ordinance; and making a related repeal.

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11

The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

12

hereby enacts as follows:

13

Section 1.  Title 58 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated

14

Statutes is amended by adding a part parts to read:

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15

PART I

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16

UNCONVENTIONAL GAS WELLS

17

Chapter

18

23.  Impact Fee

19

25.  Model Ordinance

20

CHAPTER 23

21

IMPACT FEE

 


1

Sec.

2

2301.  Definitions.

3

2302.  Shale Impact Fee.

4

2303.  Shale impact fee housing credit.

5

2304.  Administration.

6

2305.  Well information.

7

2306.  Duties of department.

8

2307.  Commission.

9

2308.  Enforcement.

10

2309.  Regulations.

11

2310.  Recordkeeping.

12

2311.  Examinations.

13

2312.  Local distribution of fee.

14

2313.  Environmental initiatives distribution of fee.

15

2314.  Expiration.

16

§ 2301.  Definitions.

17

The following words and phrases when used in this chapter

18

shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the

19

context clearly indicates otherwise:

20

"Account."  The Shale Impact Account.

21

"Barrel."  A barrel of 42 U.S. gallons of natural gas

22

liquids.

23

"Commission."  The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

24

"Department."  The Department of Environmental Protection of

25

the Commonwealth.

26

"Eligible applicants."  A county, municipality, council of

27

governments, watershed organization, institution of higher

28

education, nonprofit organization, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat

29

Commission or an authorized organization as defined in 27

30

Pa.C.S. § 6103 (relating to definitions).

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1

"Fee."  The Shale Impact Fee imposed under section 2302

2

(relating to Shale Impact Fee).

3

"Highway mileage."  The number of miles of public roads and

4

streets most recently certified by the Department of

5

Transportation as eligible for distribution of liquid fuels

6

funds under the act of June 1, 1956 (1955 P.L.1944, No.655),

7

referred to as the Liquid Fuels Tax Municipal Allocation Law.

8

"Marginal gas well."  An unconventional gas well incapable of 

9

producing more than 90,000 cubic feet of gas per day during a

10

calendar month, including production from the zones and

11

multilateral well bores at a single well, regardless of whether

12

the production is metered separately.

13

"Municipality."  A borough, city, town or township.

14

"Natural gas."  A fossil fuel consisting of a mixture of

15

hydrocarbon gases, primarily methane, and possibly including

16

ethane, propane, butane, pentane, carbon dioxide, oxygen,

17

nitrogen and hydrogen sulfide and other gas species. The term

18

includes natural gas from oil fields known as associated gas or

19

casing head gas, natural gas fields known as nonassociated gas,

20

coal beds, shale beds and other formations. The term does not

21

include coal bed methane.

22

"Natural gas liquids."  Hydrocarbons in natural gas which are

23

separated from the gas as liquids through the process of

24

absorption, condensation, adsorption or other methods in gas

25

processing of cycling plants.

26

"Number of producing unconventional wells."  The most recent

27

numerical count of producing unconventional wells on the

28

inventory maintained and provided to the commission by the

29

department as of the last day of each month.

30

"Producer."  A person or its subsidiary, affiliate or holding

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1

company that holds a permit or other authorization to engage in

2

the business of producing natural gas for sale, profit or

3

commercial use from an unconventional well in this Commonwealth.

4

The term shall not include a producer that removes natural gas

5

from a site used to store natural gas that did not originate

6

from the site.

7

"Shale impact fee housing credit."  The credit provided under

8

this chapter for a producer, who has a permit from the

9

department to drill for natural gas other than marginal gas in

10

this Commonwealth, upon acceptance of a donation to an optional

11

county affordable housing fund under 53 Pa.C.S. Ch .60 (relating

12

to optional affordable housing funding) of a county in which a

13

producer has active unconventional wells or a nonprofit

14

organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue

15

Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3)) which is

16

committed to providing low and moderate income housing in a

17

county in which a producer has active unconventional wells.

18

"Unconventional well."  A bore hole drilled or being drilled

19

for the purpose of or to be used for producing oil or gas from a

20

geological formation existing below the base of the Elk

21

Sandstone or its geologic equivalent stratigraphic interval

22

where oil or gas generally cannot be produced at economic flow

23

rates or in economic volumes except by vertical or horizontal

24

well bores stimulated by hydraulic fracture treatments or by

25

using multilateral well bores or other techniques to expose more

26

of the formation of the well bore.

27

"Vertical gas well."  An unconventional well which begins as

28

a vertical linear bore and is not intentionally deviated from

29

the vertical.

30

§ 2302.  Shale Impact Fee.

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1

(a)  Imposition.--Except as provided under subsection (c),

2

beginning January 1, 2010, there shall be imposed a Shale Impact

3

Fee on each unconventional well producing gas in this

4

Commonwealth.

5

(b)  Fee.--The fee shall consist of a fee for each

6

unconventional well as follows:

7

(1)  For the first year of production, the fee shall be

8

$40,000.

9

(2)  For the second year of production, the fee shall be

10

$30,000.

11

(3)  For the third year of production, the fee shall be

12

$20,000.

13

(4)  For the fourth year of production through the tenth

14

year of production, the fee shall be $10,000.

15

(c)  Exemption.--The fee under subsection (a) shall not be

16

imposed on marginal gas wells.

17

§ 2303.  Shale impact fee housing credit.

18

(a)  General rule.--A producer who has a permit from the

19

department to drill for natural gas, other than marginal gas, in

20

this Commonwealth may apply for a shale impact fee credit upon

21

acceptance of a donation to an optional county affordable

22

housing fund under 53 Pa.C.S. Ch 60 (relating to optional

23

affordable housing funding) of a county in which a producer has

24

active unconventional wells.

25

(b)  Application.--An application shall be developed by the

26

commission.

27

(c)  Maximum amount.--A producer may claim a credit of no

28

greater than 30% of the producer's impact fee liability under

29

this chapter.

30

(d)  Eligible activities.--A county accepting a donation to

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1

the optional county affordable housing fund may utilize the

2

funding for the following purposes:

3

(1)  To provide support to projects that meet eligibility

4

criteria as set forth in the programs administered by the

5

Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

6

(2)  To provide support to projects that increase the

7

availability of quality, safe, affordable housing for low-

8

income and moderate-income individuals or families, persons

9

with disabilities or elderly persons.

10

(3)  To provide rental assistance to persons or families

11

whose household income does not exceed the area median

12

income.

13

§ 2304.  Administration.

14

(a)  Report.--By March 1, 2012, and each March 1 thereafter,

15

each producer shall submit a report and payment of the fee with

16

the commission on a form prescribed by the commission for the

17

previous calendar year. The report shall include the following:

18

(1)  Annual units of production severed by the producer

19

for each unconventional well for the reporting period.

20

(2)  The number of producing unconventional wells of a

21

producer in each county and municipality.

22

(b)  Report and fee for 2010.--For calendar year 2010, a

23

report pursuant to subsection (a)(1) and (2) shall be filed by

24

August 1, 2011, and the fee due shall be paid as follows:

25

(1)  Fifty percent of the fee shall be paid by August 1,

26

2011.

27

(2)  Fifty percent of the fee shall be paid by November

28

1, 2011.

29

(c)  Fee due date.--Except as provided under subsection (b)

30

(2), the fee shall be due on the day the report is required to

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1

be filed. The fee shall become delinquent if not remitted to the

2

commission on the reporting date.

3

(d)  Cost.--Beginning March 2, 2012, and each March 2

4

thereafter, the commission shall determine the reasonable annual

5

cost to collect and distribute the fee in accordance with this

6

chapter and shall deduct that amount from the total amount of

7

fees collected under this chapter. On August 1, 2011, the amount

8

to collect and distribute the fee may be deducted from the total

9

amount of fees collected for 2010. Fees collected under this

10

section are hereby annually appropriated to the commission to

11

carry out its duties under this chapter.

12

§ 2305.  Well information.

13

(a)  List.--The department shall provide the commission with

14

a list of all unconventional wells that have received a drilling

15

permit from the department. The list shall be updated on a

16

monthly basis.

17

(b)  Updates.--A producer subject to the fee shall notify the

18

commission within 30 days after a calendar month in which the 

19

initiation of production at a well or the removal of a well from

20

production occurs.

21

§ 2306.  Duties of department.

22

(a)  Confirmation of payment.--Prior to issuing a permit to

23

drill an unconventional well in this Commonwealth, the

24

department shall determine whether the producer has paid all

25

fees owed under section 2302 (relating to Shale Impact Fee).

26

(b)  Prohibition.--The department shall not issue a permit to

27

drill an unconventional well until all fees owed under section

28

2302 that are not in dispute have been paid to the commission.

29

§ 2307.  Commission.

30

(a)  Powers.--The commission shall have the authority to make

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1

all inquiries and determinations necessary to calculate and

2

collect the fee imposed under this chapter, including, if

3

applicable, interest and penalties.

4

(b)  Notice.--If the commission determines that the fee has

5

not been paid in full, it may issue a notice of the amount due

6

and demand for payment and shall set forth the basis for the

7

determination.

8

(c)  Address.--Notice of failure to pay the correct fee shall

9

be sent to the producer at its registered address via certified

10

mail.

11

(d)  Time period.--The commission may challenge the amount of

12

a fee paid under this chapter within three years after the date

13

the report under section 2304(d) (relating to administration) is

14

filed.

15

(e)  Intent.--If no report is filed or a producer files a

16

false or fraudulent return with the intent to evade the fee, an

17

assessment of the amount owed may be made at any time.

18

§ 2308.  Enforcement.

19

(a)  Assessment.--The commission shall assess interest on any

20

delinquent fee at the rate prescribed under section 806 of the

21

act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.343, No.176), known as The Fiscal

22

Code.

23

(b)  Penalty.--In addition to the interest under subsection

24

(a), if a producer fails to make timely payment of the fee,

25

there shall be added to the amount of the fee due a penalty of

26

5% of the amount of the fee if failure to file a timely payment

27

is for not more than one month, with an additional 5% penalty

28

for each additional month, or fraction of a month, during which

29

the failure continues, not to exceed 25% in the aggregate.

30

(c)  Timely payment.--If the commission determines that a

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1

producer has not made a timely payment of the fee, the

2

commission shall send a written notice of the amount of the

3

deficiency to the producer within 30 days from the date of

4

determining the deficiency. If the producer has not provided a

5

complete and accurate statement of the volume of gas extracted

6

for the payment period, the commission may estimate the volume

7

in its deficiency notice.

8

(d)  Remedies.--The remedies provided under this chapter are

9

in addition to any other remedies provided at law or in equity.

10

(e)  Lien.--Fines, fees, interest and penalties shall be

11

collectible in the manner provided by law for the collection of

12

debts. If the producer liable to pay any amount neglects or

13

refuses to pay the amount after demand, the amount, together

14

with costs which may accrue, shall be a judgment in favor of the

15

Commonwealth upon the property of the producer, but only after

16

the judgment has been entered and docketed of record by the

17

prothonotary of the county where the property is situated. The

18

Commonwealth may transmit to the prothonotaries of the

19

respective counties certified copies of the judgments, and it

20

shall be the duty of each prothonotary to enter and docket the

21

same of record in his office and to index each judgment, without

22

requiring the payment of costs as a condition precedent to the

23

entry of the judgment.

24

§ 2309.  Regulations.

25

The commission shall promulgate regulations necessary to

26

enforce this chapter.

27

§ 2310.  Recordkeeping.

28

A producer liable for the fee imposed under this chapter

29

shall keep records, make reports and comply with regulations of

30

the commission. If necessary, the commission may require a

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1

producer to make reports, render statements or keep records as

2

the commission deems sufficient to determine liability for the

3

fee.

4

§ 2311.  Examinations.

5

(a)  Access.--The commission or its authorized agents or

6

representatives shall:

7

(1)  Have access to the books, papers and records of any

8

producer in order to verify the accuracy and completeness of

9

a report filed or fee paid under this chapter.

10

(2)  Require the preservation of all books, papers and

11

records for any period deemed proper not to exceed three

12

years from the end of the calendar year to which the records

13

relate.

14

(3)  Examine any employee of a producer under oath

15

concerning the severing of natural gas subject to a fee or

16

any matter relating to the enforcement of this chapter.

17

(4)  Compel the production of books, papers and records

18

and the attendance of all individuals who the commission

19

believes to have knowledge of relevant matters in accordance

20

with 66 Pa.C.S. (relating to public utilities).

21

(b)  Unauthorized disclosure.--Any information obtained by

22

the commission as a result of any report, examination,

23

investigation or hearing under this chapter shall be

24

confidential, except for official purposes, in accordance with

25

judicial order or as otherwise provided by law. An individual

26

unlawfully divulging the information commits a misdemeanor and

27

shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine or not more

28

than $1,000 and costs of prosecution or to imprisonment for not

29

more than one year, or both.

30

§ 2312.  Local distribution of fee.

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1

(a)  Establishment.--There is hereby established a restricted

2

receipts account to be known as the Shale Impact Account to be

3

administered by the commission.

4

(b)  Deposit.--All fees imposed shall be deposited into the

5

account.

6

(c)  Conservation districts.--

7

(1)  For 2010, $2,500,000 from the account shall be 

8

transferred to the Conservation District Fund to be

9

distributed to county conservation districts by the State

10

Conservation Commission.

11

(2)  For 2011, $5,000,000 from the account shall be 

12

transferred to the Conservation District Fund to be

13

distributed to county conservation districts by the State

14

Conservation Commission.

15

(3)  For 2012, and every year thereafter, $7,500,000 from

16

the account shall be transferred to the Conservation District

17

Fund to be distributed to county conservation districts by

18

the State Conservation Commission.

19

(4)  Funds under paragraphs (1), (2) and (3) shall be

20

distributed in accordance with the following:

21

(i)  One-half shall be distributed by dividing the

22

amount equally among conservation districts for any use

23

consistent with the act of May 15, 1945 (P.L.547,

24

No.217), known as the Conservation District Law.

25

(ii)  One-half shall be distributed by the State

26

Conservation Commission in a manner consistent with the

27

Conservation District Law and the provisions of the State

28

Conservation Commission's Conservation District Fund

29

Allocation Program—Statement of Policy under 25 Pa. Code

30

Ch. 83 Subch. B (relating to Conservation District Fund

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1

Allocation Program—Statement of Policy).

2

(c.1)  Office of State Fire Commissioner.--

3

(1)  For year 2012, and each year thereafter, $1,000,000

4

shall be annually distributed to the Office of the State Fire

5

Commissioner.

6

(2)  Funds under paragraph (1) shall be used for the

7

following purposes:

8

(i)  To support training programs for emergency

9

responders located in regions of this Commonwealth where

10

drilling of Marcellus Shale or other unconventional

11

resources occurs.

12

(ii)  To provide grants to fire departments for the

13

purchase of special equipment required to respond to

14

fires and other emergencies related to natural gas

15

drilling activity.

16

(d)  Distribution.--Following distribution under subsection

17

(c), 60% of the revenues remaining in the account are hereby

18

appropriated for the purposes authorized under this section.

19

Local governments are encouraged, where appropriate, to jointly

20

fund projects that cross jurisdictional lines. The commission 

21

shall distribute the funds appropriated under this subsection as

22

follows within 45 days after the date the fee is remitted:

23

(1)  Thirty-six percent shall be distributed to counties

24

in which producing unconventional gas wells are located. The

25

amount for each county shall be determined using a formula

26

that divides the number of producing unconventional gas wells

27

in the county by the number of producing unconventional gas

28

wells in this Commonwealth and multiplies the resulting

29

percentage by the amount available for distribution under

30

this paragraph.

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1

(2)  Thirty-seven percent shall be distributed to

2

municipalities in which producing unconventional gas wells

3

are located. The amount for each municipality shall be

4

determined using a formula that divides the number of

5

producing unconventional gas wells in the municipality by the

6

number of producing unconventional gas wells in this

7

Commonwealth and multiplies the resulting percentage by the

8

amount available for distribution under this paragraph.

9

(3)  Twenty-seven percent shall be distributed to

10

municipalities located in a county in which producing

11

unconventional gas wells are located. The amount available

12

for distribution in each county shall be determined by

13

dividing the number of producing unconventional gas wells in

14

the county by the number of producing unconventional gas

15

wells in this Commonwealth and multiplying the resulting

16

percentage by the amount available for distribution under

17

this paragraph. The resulting amount available for

18

distribution in each county in which producing unconventional

19

gas wells are located shall be distributed to each

20

municipality in the county regardless of whether an

21

unconventional gas well is located in the municipality as

22

follows:

23

(i)  One-half shall be distributed to each

24

municipality using a formula that divides the population

25

of the municipality within the county by the total

26

population of the county and multiplies the resulting

27

percentage by the amount available for distribution to

28

the county under this subparagraph.

29

(ii)  One-half shall be distributed to each

30

municipality using a formula that divides the highway

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1

mileage of the municipality within the county by the

2

total highway mileage of the county and multiplies the

3

resulting percentage by the amount available for

4

distribution to the county under this subparagraph.

5

(e)  Use of funds.--A county or municipality receiving funds

6

under this subsection shall make use of funds received only for

7

the following purposes:

8

(1)  Construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repair

9

of roadways, bridges and public infrastructure.

10

(2)  Water, storm water and sewer systems, including

11

construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repair.

12

(3)  Emergency preparedness and public safety, including

13

police and fire services.

14

(4)  Preservation and reclamation of surface and

15

subsurface waters and water supplies.

16

(5)  Tax reductions, including homestead exclusions.

17

(6)  Records management, geographic information systems

18

and information technology.

19

(7)  To provide for a project, approved by the governing

20

body of a county or municipality, that increases the

21

availability of quality affordable housing, either for sale

22

or rental, to residents whose annual income is less than the

23

area median income.

24

(f)  Annual reports.--

25

(1)  The commission shall submit an annual report on all

26

distributions of funds in the Shale Impact Account under this

27

section. The report shall be submitted to the chairman and

28

minority chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the

29

Senate, the chairman and minority chairman of the

30

Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives, the

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1

chairman and minority chairman of the Environmental Resources

2

and Energy Committee of the Senate and the chairman and

3

minority chairman of the Environmental Resources and Energy

4

Committee of the House of Representatives. The report shall

5

be submitted by August 31, 2012, and by August 31 of each

6

year thereafter.

7

(2)  All counties and municipalities receiving

8

distributions of funds from the Shale Impact Account under

9

this section shall submit information to the commission on a

10

form prepared by the commission that sets forth the amount

11

and use of the funds received in the prior calendar year.

12

The form shall set forth whether the funds received were

13

committed to a specific project or use as allowed in this

14

section.

15

(3)  Every county and municipality receiving funds under

16

this section shall publish a report, which at a minimum shall

17

include the amount of funds received under this section and

18

the purposes for which the funds were expended. The reports

19

shall be published on the county or municipality's publicly

20

accessible Internet website at least annually.

21

§ 2313.  Environmental initiatives distribution of fee.

22

(a)  Deposit and distribution.--Following distribution under

23

section 2312(c), 40% of the revenues in the account are hereby

24

appropriated for distribution by the commission as follows:

25

(1)  Sixty percent to the Commonwealth Financing

26

Authority to be utilized for grants to eligible applicants

27

for the following purposes:

28

(i)  To implement acid mine drainage abatement and

29

cleanup efforts and mine reclamation with a priority

30

given to those projects that recycle and treat mine

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1

drainage water for use in drilling operations.

2

(ii)  To plug abandoned and orphaned oil and gas

3

wells.

4

(iii)  Grants for watershed protection as defined in

5

27 Pa.C.S. § 6103 (relating to definitions).

6

(iv)  Planning and enforcement authorized under

7

section 6 of the act of January 24, 1966 (1965 P.L.1535,

8

No.537), known as the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act.

9

(v)  Water, storm water and sewer systems, including

10

construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repair.

11

(2)  Twenty percent to the Motor License Fund.

12

(3)  Twenty percent to the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund.

13

(4)  No more than 40% of the revenue generated under this

14

section shall be used for the purposes listed under paragraph

15

(1)(v).

16

(b)  Restriction on use of proceeds.--

17

(1)  Funds shall not be granted to an eligible applicant

18

for the purpose of public relations, outreach,

19

communications, lobbying or litigation.

20

(2)  No property purchased using revenue generated under

21

this section may be conveyed or resold to another entity

22

without approval from the Department of Conservation and

23

Natural Resources.

24

(3)  Grants may not be used by an authorized organization

25

as defined in 27 Pa.C.S. § 6103 for land acquisition unless

26

the authorized organization has obtained the written consent

27

of the county and municipality in which the land is situated.

28

(c)  Coordination with other agencies.--The department and

29

the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources shall

30

review applications for funding as requested by the Commonwealth

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1

Financing Authority and provide recommendations on priority of

2

projects and project approval for consideration by the

3

Commonwealth Financing Authority.

4

§ 2314.  Expiration.

5

(a)  Notice.--The Secretary of State shall, upon the

6

imposition of a severance tax on each unconventional well

7

producing gas in this Commonwealth, submit for publication in

8

the Pennsylvania Bulletin notice of the imposition.

9

(b)  Date.--This chapter shall expire on the date of the

10

publication of the notice under subsection (a).

11

CHAPTER 25

12

MODEL ORDINANCE

13

Sec.

14

2501.  Model municipal ordinance.

15

2502.  Local ordinance.

16

§ 2501.  Model municipal ordinance.

17

(a)  Purposes.--The purposes of this section are as follows:

18

(1)  To optimize the development and use of this

19

Commonwealth's oil and gas reserves by increasing reasonable

20

consistency in zoning and other municipal regulation.

21

(2)  To foster expeditious and efficient handling of

22

municipal oil and gas permitting procedures.

23

(3)  To allow municipalities to enact regulations under

24

the act of July 31, 1968 (P.L.805, No.247), known as the

25

Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, and the act of

26

October 4, 1978 (P.L.851, No.166), known as the Flood Plain

27

Management Act, insofar as the regulation is authorized by

28

section 2502 (relating to local ordinance) and this section.

29

(b)  Authority.--The commission shall develop and adopt a

30

model ordinance to fulfill the purposes of this section.

- 17 -

 


1

(c)  Adoption of provisions.--

2

(1)  Within 120 days of the effective date of this

3

section, the commission shall, by majority vote, adopt a

4

model ordinance for counties and municipalities pertaining to

5

oil and gas drilling activities in accordance with the

6

Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, as applicable, the

7

Flood Plain Management Act and this section.

8

(2)  The model zoning ordinance shall do all of the

9

following:

10

(i)  Authorize oil and gas development as a permitted

11

use by right in all zoning districts except residential

12

districts. The commission may develop a model zoning

13

ordinance that allows oil and gas development in

14

residential zoning districts by conditional use or

15

special exception with conditions dependent on the

16

density of existing uses within the district and the

17

isolation distances achievable in each residential

18

district.

19

(ii)  Authorize natural gas compression stations:

20

(A)  as a permitted use by right in all

21

agricultural, industrial and commercial districts;

22

and

23

(B)  as a conditional use in all other zoning

24

districts.

25

(iii)  Authorize natural gas processing plants:

26

(A)  as a permitted use by right in all

27

industrial districts; and

28

(B)  as a conditional use or special exception in

29

agricultural districts.

30

(3)  The model zoning ordinance shall not do any of the

- 18 -

 


1

following:

2

(i)  Impose limitations on the hours of operation on

3

drilling operations.

4

(ii)  Impose limitations on noise, light, height or

5

security or fencing on drilling operations, natural gas

6

compressor stations or natural gas processing plants if

7

the limitations are more stringent than limitations

8

imposed on construction activities for other similar land

9

uses. The model zoning ordinance may include limitations

10

on noise, light, height and security and fencing for

11

equipment or processes which are unique to the gas

12

industry and which are rational, nondiscriminatory and

13

reasonably defensible in the particular zone where they

14

apply.

15

(iii)  Have a permit review period for uses by right

16

that exceeds 30 days for complete and responsive

17

submissions.

18

(iv)  Impose restrictions on vehicular access routes

19

for overweight vehicles except as authorized under:

20

(A)  75 Pa.C.S. (relating to vehicles); or

21

(B)  the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning

22

Code.

23

(v)  Regulate storm water, erosion and sedimentation

24

control or grading where the use is subject to regulation

25

by the department through an Erosion and Sedimentation

26

Control General Permit or similar permit.

27

(4)  Nothing in this subsection shall limit or preempt a

28

county or municipality from action pursuant to the act of

29

October 4, 1978 (P.L.864, No.167), known as the Storm Water

30

Management Act.

- 19 -

 


1

(d)  Effect of model ordinance.--An ordinance adopted by a

2

county or municipality to regulate oil and gas shall not contain

3

more stringent standards than the model ordinance adopted by the

4

commission.

5

(e)  Timing.--The commission shall publish the adopted model

6

ordinance in the Pennsylvania Bulletin immediately after its

7

adoption and shall disseminate information about the model

8

ordinance through the Department of Community and Economic

9

Development, municipal associations and other means as the

10

commission shall deem appropriate. The costs of the notification

11

shall be borne by the Department of Community and Economic

12

Development.

13

(f)  Miscellaneous.--The commission shall review the model

14

ordinance annually. Proposed amendments shall be published in

15

the Pennsylvania Bulletin within 30 days after their adoption.

16

(g)  Ordinance.--If an ordinance adopted by a county or

17

municipality contains more stringent standards than the model

18

ordinance, the county or municipality shall be ineligible to

19

receive funding under sections 2312 (relating to local

20

distribution of fee) and 2313 (relating to environmental

21

initiatives distribution of fee).

22

(h)  Effective date of model ordinance.--The model ordinance

23

shall take effect 70 days following the commission's publication

24

of the ordinance in the Pennsylvania Bulletin under this

25

section.

26

§ 2502.  Local ordinance.

27

Nothing in this chapter shall impair or infringe upon the

28

preemption or supersedure of the regulation of gas wells under

29

section 602 of the act of December 19, 1984 (P.L.1140, No.223),

30

known as the Oil and Gas Act.

- 20 -

 


1

Section 2.  This act shall take effect as follows:

2

(1)  This section shall take effect immediately.

3

(2)  The addition of 58 Pa.C.S. § 2501 shall take effect

4

immediately.

5

(3)  The remainder of this act shall take effect in 30

6

days.

7

PART I

<--

8

(RESERVED)

9

PART II

10

OVERSIGHT AND DEVELOPMENT

11

Chapter

12

31.  (Reserved)

13

32.  Regulation

14

33.  Model Ordinance

15

CHAPTER 31

16

(RESERVED)

17

CHAPTER 32

18

REGULATION

19

Subchapter

20

A.  Preliminary Provisions

21

B.  General Requirements

22

C.  Underground Gas Storage

23

D.  Eminent Domain

24

E.  Enforcement and Remedies

25

F.  (Reserved)

26

G.  Miscellaneous Provisions

27

SUBCHAPTER A

28

PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS

29

Sec.

30

3201.  Scope of chapter.

- 21 -

 


1

3202.  Declaration of purpose.

2

3203.  Definitions.

3

§ 3201.  Scope of chapter.

4

This chapter relates to oil and gas.

5

§ 3202.  Declaration of purpose.

6

The purposes of this chapter are to:

7

(1)  Permit optimal development of oil and gas resources

8

of this Commonwealth consistent with protection of the

9

health, safety, environment and property of Pennsylvania

10

citizens.

11

(2)  Protect the safety of personnel and facilities

12

employed in coal mining or exploration, development, storage

13

and production of natural gas or oil.

14

(3)  Protect the safety and property rights of persons

15

residing in areas where mining, exploration, development,

16

storage or production occurs.

17

(4)  Protect the natural resources, environmental rights

18

and values secured by the Constitution of Pennsylvania.

19

§ 3203.  Definitions.

20

The following words and phrases when used in this chapter

21

shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the

22

context clearly indicates otherwise:

23

"Abandoned well."  Any of the following:

24

(1)  A well:

25

(i)  that has not been used to produce, extract or

26

inject any gas, petroleum or other liquid within the

27

preceding 12 months;

28

(ii)  for which equipment necessary for production,

29

extraction or injection has been removed; or

30

(iii)  considered dry and not equipped for production

- 22 -

 


1

within 60 days after drilling, redrilling or deepening.

2

(2)  The term does not include wells granted inactive

3

status.

4

"Alteration."  An operation which changes the physical

5

characteristics of a well bore, including stimulation or

6

removing, repairing or changing the casing. For the purpose of

7

this chapter, the term does not include:

8

(1)  Repairing or replacing of the casing if the

9

operation does not affect the depth or diameter of the well

10

bore, the use or purpose of the well does not change and the

11

activity complies with regulations promulgated under this

12

chapter. This paragraph shall not apply:

13

(i)  to production casings in coal areas when the

14

production casings are also the coal protection casings;

15

or

16

(ii)  when the method of repairing or replacing the

17

casing would affect the coal protection casing.

18

(2)  Stimulation of a well.

19

"Board."  The Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board.

20

"Bridge."  An obstruction placed in a well at any depth.

21

"Building."  An occupied structure with walls and roof within

22

which persons live or customarily work.

23

"Casing."  A string or strings of pipe commonly placed in

24

wells drilled for natural gas or petroleum.

25

"Cement" or "cement grout."  Any of the following:

26

(1)  Hydraulic cement properly mixed with water only.

27

(2)  A mixture of materials adequate for bonding or

28

sealing of well bores as approved by regulations promulgated

29

under this chapter.

30

"Coal mine."  Any of the following:

- 23 -

 


1

(1)  Operations in a coal seam, including excavated

2

portions, abandoned portions and places actually being

3

worked.

4

(2)  Underground workings and shafts, slopes, tunnels and

5

other ways and openings, including those which are in the

6

course of being sunk or driven, along with all roads and

7

facilities connected with them below the surface.

8

"Coal operator."  A person that operates or proposes to

9

operate a coal mine as an owner or lessee.

10

"Completion of a well."  The date after treatment, if any,

11

that the well is properly equipped for production of oil or gas,

12

or, if the well is dry, the date that the well is abandoned.

13

"Department."  The Department of Environmental Protection of

14

the Commonwealth.

15

"Drilling."  The drilling or redrilling of a well or the

16

deepening of an existing well.

17

"Fresh groundwater."  Water in that portion of the generally

18

recognized hydrologic cycle which occupies the pore spaces and

19

fractures of saturated subsurface materials.

20

"Gas."  Any of the following:

21

(1)  A fluid, combustible or noncombustible, which is

22

produced in a natural state from the earth and maintains a

23

gaseous or rarified state at standard temperature of 60

24

degrees Fahrenheit and pressure 14.7 PSIA.

25

(2)  Any manufactured gas, byproduct gas or mixture of

26

gases.

27

"Inactivate."  To shut off the vertical movement of gas in a

28

gas storage well by means of a temporary plug or other suitable

29

device or by injecting bentonitic mud or other equally nonporous

30

material into the well.

- 24 -

 


1

"Linear foot."  A unit or measurement in a straight line on a

2

horizontal plane.

3

"Oil."  Hydrocarbons in liquid form at standard temperature

4

of 60 degrees Fahrenheit and pressure 14.7 PSIA, also referred

5

to as petroleum.

6

"Operating coal mine."  Any of the following:

7

(1)  An underground coal mine which is producing coal or

8

has been in production of coal at any time during the 12

9

months immediately preceding the date its status is put in

10

question, including contiguous worked-out or abandoned coal

11

mines to which it is connected underground.

12

(2)  An underground coal mine to be established or

13

reestablished under paragraph (1).

14

"Operating well."  A well that is not plugged and abandoned.

15

"Orphan well."  A well abandoned prior to April 18, 1985,

16

that has not been affected or operated by the present owner or

17

operator and from which the present owner, operator or lessee

18

has received no economic benefit other than as a landowner or

19

recipient of a royalty interest from the well.

20

"Outside coal boundaries."  When used in conjunction with the

21

term "operating coal mine," the boundaries of the coal acreage

22

assigned to the coal mine under an underground mine permit

23

issued by the Department of Environmental Protection.

24

"Owner."  A person who owns, manages, leases, controls or

25

possesses a well or coal property. The term does not apply to

26

orphan wells, except where the Department of Environmental

27

Protection determines a prior owner or operator benefited from

28

the well as provided in section 3220(a) (relating to plugging

29

requirements).

30

"Person."  An individual, association, partnership,

- 25 -

 


1

corporation, political subdivision or agency of the Federal

2

Government, State government or other legal entity.

3

"Petroleum."  Hydrocarbons in liquid form at standard

4

temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit and pressure 14.7 PSIA,

5

also referred to as oil.

6

"Pillar."  A solid block of coal surrounded by either active

7

mine workings or a mined-out area.

8

"Plat."  A map, drawing or print accurately drawn to scale

9

showing the proposed or existing location of a well or wells.

10

"Reservoir protective area."  The area surrounding a storage

11

reservoir boundary, but within 2,000 linear feet of the storage

12

reservoir boundary, unless an alternate area has been designated

13

by the Department of Environmental Protection, which is deemed

14

reasonably necessary to afford protection to the reservoir,

15

under a conference held in accordance with section 3251

16

(relating to conferences).

17

"Retreat mining."  Removal of coal pillars, ribs and stumps

18

remaining after development mining has been completed in that

19

section of a coal mine.

20

"Secretary."  The Secretary of Environmental Protection of

21

the Commonwealth.

22

"Storage operator."  A person who operates or proposes to

23

operate a storage reservoir as an owner or lessee.

24

"Storage reservoir."  That portion of a subsurface geological

25

stratum into which gas is or may be injected for storage

26

purposes or to test suitability of the stratum for storage.

27

"Unconventional formation."  A geological formation existing

28

below the base of the Elk Sandstone or its geologic equivalent

29

stratigraphic interval where natural gas generally cannot be

30

produced at economic flow rates or in economic volumes except by

- 26 -

 


1

vertical or horizontal well bores stimulated by hydraulic

2

fracture treatments or by using multilateral well bores or other

3

techniques to expose more of the formation of the well bore.

4

"Unconventional well."  A bore hole drilled or being drilled

5

for the purpose of or to be used for the production of natural

6

gas from an unconventional formation.

7

"Well."  A bore hole drilled or being drilled for the purpose

8

of, or to be used for, producing, extracting or injecting gas,

9

petroleum or another liquid related to oil or gas production or

10

storage, including brine disposal, but excluding a bore hole

11

drilled to produce potable water. The term does not include a

12

bore hole drilled or being drilled for the purpose of, or to be

13

used for:

14

(1)  Systems of monitoring, producing or extracting gas

15

from solid waste disposal facilities, if the bore hole is a

16

well subject to the act of July 7, 1980 (P.L.380, No.97),

17

known as the Solid Waste Management Act, which does not

18

penetrate a workable coal seam.

19

(2)  Degasifying coal seams, if the bore hole is:

20

(i)  used to vent methane to the outside atmosphere

21

from an operating coal mine; regulated as part of the

22

mining permit under the act of June 22, 1937 (P.L.1987,

23

No.394), known as The Clean Streams Law, and the act of

24

May 31, 1945 (P.L.1198, No.418), known as the Surface

25

Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act; and drilled by

26

the operator of the operating coal mine for the purpose

27

of increased safety; or

28

(ii)  used to vent methane to the outside atmosphere

29

under a federally funded or State-funded abandoned mine

30

reclamation project.

- 27 -

 


1

"Well operator" or "operator."  Any of the following:

2

(1)  The person designated as operator or well operator

3

on the permit application or well registration.

4

(2)  If a permit or well registration was not issued, a

5

person who locates, drills, operates, alters or plugs a well

6

or reconditions a well with the purpose of production from

7

the well.

8

(3)  If a well is used in connection with underground

9

storage of gas, a storage operator.

10

"Wetland."  Areas inundated or saturated by surface or

11

groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support,

12

and which normally support, a prevalence of vegetation typically

13

adapted for life in saturated soil conditions, including swamps,

14

marshes, bogs and similar areas.

15

"Workable coal seams."  A coal seam which:

16

(1)  is actually being mined in the area in question

17

under this chapter by underground methods; or

18

(2)  in the judgment of the Department of Environmental

19

Protection, can reasonably be expected to be mined by

20

underground methods.

21

SUBCHAPTER B

22

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

23

Sec.

24

3211.  Well permits.

25

3212.  Permit objections.

26

3213.  Well registration and identification.

27

3214.  Inactive status.

28

3215.  Well location restrictions.

29

3216.  Well site restoration.

30

3217.  Protection of fresh groundwater and casing requirements.

- 28 -

 


1

3218.  Protection of water supplies.

2

3218.1.  Containment for unconventional wells.

3

3218.2.  Transportation records regarding wastewater fluids.

4

3218.3.  Emergency response information.

5

3219.  Use of safety devices.

6

3220.  Plugging requirements.

7

3221.  Alternative methods.

8

3222.  Well reporting requirements.

9

3223.  Notification and effect of well transfer.

10

3224.  Coal operator responsibilities.

11

3225.  Bonding.

12

3226.  Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board.

13

§ 3211.  Well permits.

14

(a)  Permit required.--No person shall drill a well or alter

15

an existing well, except for alterations which satisfy the

16

requirements of subsection (j), without having first obtained a

17

well permit under subsections (b), (c), (d) and (e). A copy of

18

the permit shall be kept at the well site during preparation and

19

construction of the well site or access road, drilling,

20

operation or alteration of the well. No person shall be required

21

to obtain a permit to redrill a nonproducing well if the

22

redrilling:

23

(1)  has been evaluated and approved as part of an order

24

from the department authorizing cleaning out and plugging or

25

replugging a nonproducing well under section 13(c) of the act

26

of December 18, 1984 (P.L.1069, No.214), known as the Coal

27

and Gas Resource Coordination Act; and

28

(2)  is incidental to a plugging or replugging operation

29

and the well is plugged within 15 days of redrilling.

30

(b)  Plat.--The permit application shall be accompanied by a

- 29 -

 


1

plat prepared by a competent engineer or a competent surveyor,

2

on forms furnished by the department, showing the political

3

subdivision and county in which the tract of land upon which the

4

well to be drilled, operated or altered, is located, the name of

5

the surface landowner of record and lessor, the name of all

6

surface landowners or water purveyors whose water supplies are

7

within 1,000 feet, or in the case of an unconventional well

8

within 3,000 feet from the well bore, the name of the owner of

9

record or operator of all known underlying workable coal seams,

10

the acreage in the tract to be drilled, the proposed location of

11

the well determined by survey, courses and distances of the

12

location from two or more permanent identifiable points or

13

landmarks on the tract boundary corners, the proposed angle and

14

direction of the well if the well is to be deviated

15

substantially from a vertical course, the number or other

16

identification to be given the well, workable coal seams

17

underlying the tract of land upon which the well is to be

18

drilled, operated or altered and which shall be cased off under

19

section 3217 (relating to protection of fresh groundwater and

20

casing requirements) and any other information needed by the

21

department to administer this chapter. The applicant shall

22

forward by certified mail a copy of the plat to the following:

23

(1)  The surface landowner.

24

(2)  All surface landowners or water purveyors whose

25

water supplies are within 1,000 feet of the proposed well

26

location or, in the case of an unconventional well, within

27

3,000 feet of the well bore.

28

(3)  The owner and lessee, if any, of any workable coal

29

seams and every coal operator required to be identified on

30

the well permit application and shall submit proof of such

- 30 -

 


1

notification with the well permit application.

2

(4)  The municipality where the proposed unconventional

3

well is located and a municipality within 3,000 feet of the

4

proposed unconventional well bore.

5

(b.1)  Notification.--Notification of surface owners shall be

6

performed by sending notice to those persons to whom the tax

7

notices for the surface property are sent, as indicated in the

8

assessment books in the county in which the property is located.

9

Notification of surface landowners or water purveyors whose

10

water supplies are within 1,000 feet, or in the case of an

11

unconventional well within 3,000 feet of the well bore shall be

12

on forms, and in a manner prescribed by the department,

13

sufficient to identify the rights afforded those persons under

14

section 3218 (relating to protection of water supplies) and

15

advise them of the advisability of taking their own predrilling

16

or prealteration survey. The applicant shall submit proof of

17

compliance with this subsection with the well permit

18

application.

19

(b.2)  Approval.--If the applicant submits to the department

20

written approval of the proposed well location by the surface

21

landowner and the coal operator, lessee or owner of any coal

22

underlying the proposed well location and no objections are

23

raised by the department within 15 days of filing, or if no

24

approval has been submitted and no objections are made to the

25

proposed well location within 15 days from receipt of notice by

26

the department, lessee or owner, the written approval shall be

27

filed and become a permanent record of the well location,

28

subject to inspection at any time by any interested person. The

29

application form to operate an abandoned or orphan well shall

30

provide notification to the applicant of its responsibilities to

- 31 -

 


1

plug the well upon abandonment.

2

(c)  Applicants.--If the applicant for a well permit is a

3

corporation, partnership or person that is not a resident of

4

this Commonwealth, the applicant shall designate the name and

5

address of an agent for the operator who shall be the attorney-

6

in-fact for the operator and who shall be a resident of this

7

Commonwealth upon whom notices, orders or other communications

8

issued under this chapter may be served and upon whom process

9

may be served. Each well operator required to designate an agent

10

under this section shall, within five days after termination of

11

the designation, notify the department of the termination and

12

designate a new agent.

13

(d)  Permit fee.--Each application for a well permit shall be

14

accompanied by a permit fee, established by regulation of the

15

Environmental Quality Board, which bears a reasonable

16

relationship to the cost of administering this chapter.

17

(e)  Issuance of permit.--The department shall issue a permit

18

within 45 days of submission of an application unless the

19

department denies the permit application for any of the reasons

20

set forth in subsection (e.1), except that the department shall

21

have the right to extend the period for 15 days for cause shown

22

upon notification to the applicant of the reasons for the

23

extension. The department may impose permit terms and conditions

24

necessary to assure compliance with this chapter or other laws

25

administered by the department.

26

(e.1)  Denial of permit.--The department may deny a permit

27

for any of the following reasons:

28

(1)  The well site for which a permit is requested is in

29

violation of this chapter or issuance of the permit would

30

result in a violation of this chapter or other applicable

- 32 -

 


1

law.

2

(2)  The permit application is incomplete.

3

(3)  Unresolved objections to the well location by coal

4

mine owner or operator remain.

5

(4)  The requirements of section 3225 (relating to

6

bonding) have not been met.

7

(5)  The applicant, with respect to any other well

8

operated by the applicant, is in continuing violation of this

9

chapter or other applicable law administered by the

10

department and the likely result of the violation is an

11

unsafe operation or environmental damage. If a final

12

determination has been made in the applicant's favor, the

13

permit denied shall be reconsidered and the violation shall

14

not be a consideration in the awarding of the permit. The

15

department may not collect an application fee for the

16

reconsideration.

17

(6)  The applicant failed to pay or file a report under

18

section 2303(d) and (e) (relating to administration), unless

19

a valid appeal is in process. The commission shall notify the

20

department of any applicant who has failed to pay or file a

21

return and who does not have a valid appeal pending.

22

(7)  An applicant to drill an unconventional well does

23

not have a reasonable written plan to reuse at least 30% of

24

the total water that will be used to hydraulically fracture

25

the well.

26

(f)  Drilling.--Upon issuance of a permit, the well operator

27

may proceed to drill, operate or alter the well at the exact

28

location shown on the plat after providing the department, the

29

surface landowner and the local political subdivision in which

30

the well is to be located 24 hours' notice of the date that

- 33 -

 


1

drilling will commence. In noncoal areas where more than one

2

well is to be drilled as part of the same development project,

3

only the first well of the project need be located by survey.

4

Remaining wells of the project shall be shown on the plat in a

5

manner prescribed by regulation. Prior to drilling each

6

additional project well, the well operator shall notify the

7

department and provide reasonable notice of the date on which

8

drilling will commence. Whenever, before or during the drilling

9

of a well not within the boundaries of an operating coal mine,

10

the well operator encounters conditions of a nature which

11

renders drilling of the bore hole or a portion thereof

12

impossible, or more hazardous than usual, the well operator,

13

upon verbal notice to the department, may immediately plug all

14

or part of the bore hole, if drilling has occurred, and commence

15

a new bore hole not more than 50 feet from the old bore hole if

16

the location of the new bore hole does not violate section 3215

17

(relating to well location restrictions) and, in the case of a

18

well subject to act of July 25, 1961 (P.L.825, No.359), known as

19

the Oil and Gas Conservation Law, if the new location complies

20

with existing laws, regulations and spacing orders and the new

21

bore hole is at least 330 feet from the nearest lease boundary.

22

Within ten days of commencement of the new bore hole, the well

23

operator shall file with the department a written notice of

24

intention to plug, a well record, a completion report, a

25

plugging certificate for the original bore hole and an amended

26

plat for the new bore hole. The well operator shall forward a

27

copy of the amended plat to the surface landowner identified on

28

the well permit application within ten days of commencement of

29

the new well bore.

30

(g)  Posting.--The well permit number and operator's name,

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1

address and telephone number shall be conspicuously posted at

2

the drilling site prior to initiating preparation and during

3

construction of the well site or access road, drilling,

4

operation or alteration of the well.

5

(h)  Labeling.--The well operator shall install the permit

6

number issued by the department in a legible, visible and

7

permanent manner on the well upon completion.

8

(i)  Expiration.--Well permits issued for drilling wells

9

under this chapter shall expire one year after issuance unless

10

operations for drilling the well are commenced within the period

11

and pursued with due diligence or unless the permit is renewed

12

in accordance with regulations of the department. If drilling is

13

commenced during the one-year period, the well permit shall

14

remain in force until the well is plugged in accordance with

15

section 3220 (relating to plugging requirements) or the permit

16

is revoked. A drilling permit issued prior to April 18, 1985,

17

for a well which is an operating well on April 18, 1985, shall

18

remain in force as a well permit until the well is plugged in

19

accordance with section 3220. Nothing in this subsection shall

20

be construed to rescind the provisions pertaining to drilling

21

permits contained in the Oil and Gas Conservation Law.

22

(j)  Exceptions.--The Environmental Quality Board may

23

establish by regulation certain categories of alterations of

24

permitted or registered wells for which permitting requirements

25

of this section shall not apply. A well operator or owner who

26

proposes to conduct the alteration activity shall first obtain a

27

permit or registration modification from the department. The

28

Environmental Quality Board shall promulgate regulations as to

29

the requirements for modifications.

30

(k)  No transfer permitted.--No permit issued under this

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1

section or registration issued under section 3213 (relating to

2

well registration and identification) may be transferred without

3

prior approval of the department. A request for approval of a

4

transfer shall be on the forms, and in the manner, prescribed by

5

the department. The department shall approve or deny a transfer

6

request within 45 days of receipt of a complete and accurate

7

application. The department may deny a request only for reasons

8

set forth in subsection (e.1)(4), (5) and (6). Approval of a

9

transfer request shall permanently transfer responsibility to

10

plug the well under section 3220 to the recipient of the

11

transferred permit or registration. The department may establish

12

a procedure for accelerated approval of well permit applications

13

in hardship cases, as defined by regulation of the Environmental

14

Quality Board, consistent with the requirements of this chapter.

15

§ 3212.  Permit objections.

16

(a)  General rule.--If a well referred to in section 3211(b)

17

(relating to well permits) will be located on a tract whose

18

surface is owned by a person other than the well operator, the

19

surface landowner affected shall be notified of the intent to

20

drill and may file objections, in accordance with section 3251

21

(relating to conferences), based on the assertion that the well

22

location violates section 3215 (relating to well location

23

restrictions) or that information in the application is untrue

24

in any material respect, within 15 days of the receipt by the

25

surface owner of the plat under section 3211(b). Receipt of

26

notice by the surface owner shall be presumed to have occurred

27

15 days from the date of the certified mailing when the well

28

operator submits a copy of the certified mail receipt sent to

29

the surface owner and an affidavit certifying that the address

30

of the surface owner to which notice was sent is the same as the

- 36 -

 


1

address listed in the assessment books in the county where the

2

property is located. If no objection is filed or none is raised

3

by the department within 15 days after receipt of the plat by

4

the surface landowner, or if written approval by the surface

5

landowner is filed with the department and no objection is

6

raised by the department within 15 days of filing, the

7

department shall proceed to issue or deny the permit.

8

(b)  Special circumstances.--If a well referred to in section

9

3211(b) will penetrate within the outside coal boundaries of an

10

operating coal mine or a coal mine already projected and platted

11

but not yet being operated, or within 1,000 linear feet beyond

12

those boundaries, and, in the opinion of the coal owner or

13

operator, the well or a pillar of coal about the well will

14

unduly interfere with or endanger the mine, the coal owner or

15

operator affected may file objections under section 3251 to the

16

proposed location within 15 days of the receipt by the coal

17

operator of the plat under section 3211(b). If possible, an

18

alternative location at which the proposed well could be drilled

19

to overcome the objections shall be indicated. If no objection

20

to the proposed location is filed or if none is raised by the

21

department within 15 days after receipt of the plat by the coal

22

operator or owner, or if written approval by the coal operator

23

or owner of the location is filed with the department and no

24

objection is raised by the department within 15 days of filing,

25

the department shall proceed to issue or deny the permit.

26

(c)  Procedure upon objection.--If an objection is filed by a

27

coal operator or owner or made by the department, the department

28

shall fix a time and place for a conference under section 3251

29

not more than ten days from the date of service of the objection

30

to allow the parties to consider the objection and attempt to

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1

agree on a location. If they fail to agree, the department, by

2

an appropriate order, shall determine a location on the tract of

3

land as near to the original location as possible where, in the

4

judgment of the department, the well can be safely drilled

5

without unduly interfering with or endangering the mine as

6

defined in subsection (b). The new location agreed upon by the

7

parties or determined by the department shall be indicated on

8

the plat on file with the department and become a permanent

9

record upon which the department shall proceed to issue or deny

10

the permit.

11

(d)  Survey.--Within 120 days after commencement of drilling

12

operations, the coal operator shall accurately locate the well

13

by a closed survey on the same datum as the mine workings or

14

coal boundaries are mapped, file the results of the survey with

15

the department and forward a copy by certified mail to the well

16

operator.

17

§ 3213.  Well registration and identification.

18

(a)  General rule.--On or before July 5, 1996, each person

19

who owned or operated a well in existence prior to April 18,

20

1985, which has not been registered with the department and for

21

which no drilling permit has been issued by the department,

22

shall register the well with the department. A well owner or

23

operator who registers under this subsection and a well owner or

24

operator who has previously registered a well under this chapter

25

shall, on or before July 5, 1996, identify any abandoned well on

26

property which the well owner or operator owns or leases and

27

request approval from the department for classification of the

28

well as an orphan well. Information regarding wells to be

29

registered or identified shall be provided on a form, or in a

30

manner, prescribed by the department and shall include:

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1

(1)  The name and address of the well operator and, if

2

the well operator is a corporation, partnership or person

3

nonresident of this Commonwealth, the name and address of an

4

agent for the operator upon whom notices, orders, process or

5

other communications issued under this chapter may be served.

6

(2)  The well name and the location of the well indicated

7

by a point on a 7 1/2 minute United States Geological Survey

8

topographic map or any other location description sufficient

9

to enable the department to locate the well on the ground.

10

(3)  The approximate date of drilling and completing the

11

well, its approximate depth and producing horizons, well

12

construction information and, if available, driller's logs.

13

(4)  An indemnity bond, an alternative fee in lieu of

14

bonding or other evidence of financial security submitted by

15

the well operator and deemed appropriate by the department

16

and satisfying the requirements of section 3225 (relating to

17

bonding). No bond, alternative fee or other evidence of

18

financial security shall be required for identification of an

19

orphan well. For wells drilled prior to January 30, 1956,

20

which have not been bonded, the well operator shall have five

21

years to comply with the provisions of this paragraph.

22

(5)  A registration fee of $15 per well or blanket

23

registration fee of $250 for multiple well registration

24

applications submitted simultaneously. The registration fee

25

shall be waived until July 5, 1996, and no fee shall be

26

charged for identification of an orphan well.

27

(a.1)  Orphan wells.--After July 5, 1996, a well owner, well

28

operator or other person discovering an abandoned well on

29

property purchased or leased by the well owner, well operator or

30

other person shall identify it to the department within 60 days

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1

of discovery and advise the department that he is seeking

2

classification of the well as an orphan well. No fee shall be

3

required for identification.

4

(b)  Extension.--The department may extend the one-year time

5

period under subsection (a) for good cause shown. The extension

6

may not exceed a period ending two years from April 18, 1985.

7

The department may adopt and promulgate guidelines designed to

8

ensure a fair implementation of this section, recognizing the

9

practical difficulties of locating unpermitted wells and

10

complying with the reporting requirements of this chapter.

11

(c)  Installation of registration number.--The well operator

12

shall install the registration number issued by the department

13

in a legible, conspicuous and permanent manner on the well

14

within 60 days of issuance.

15

(d)  Definition.--For purposes of subsection (a)(4) and (5),

16

the term "owner" does not include an owner or possessor of

17

surface real property, on which an abandoned well is located,

18

who did not participate or incur costs in, and had no right of

19

control over, the drilling or extraction operation of the

20

abandoned well.

21

§ 3214.  Inactive status.

22

(a)  General rule.--Upon application, the department shall

23

grant inactive status for a period of five years for a permitted

24

or registered well, if the following requirements are met:

25

(1)  the condition of the well is sufficient to prevent

26

damage to the producing zone or contamination of fresh water

27

or other natural resources or surface leakage of any

28

substance;

29

(2)  the condition of the well is sufficient to stop the

30

vertical flow of fluids or gas within the well bore and is

- 40 -

 


1

adequate to protect freshwater aquifers, unless the

2

department determines the well poses a threat to the health

3

and safety of persons or property or to the environment;

4

(3)  the operator anticipates construction of a pipeline

5

or future use of the well for primary or enhanced recovery,

6

gas storage, approved disposal or other appropriate uses

7

related to oil and gas well production; and

8

(4)  the applicant satisfies the bonding requirements of

9

sections 3213 (relating to well registration and

10

identification) and 3225 (relating to bonding), except that

11

the department may require additional financial security for

12

a well on which an alternative fee is being paid in lieu of

13

bonding under section 3225(d).

14

(b)  Monitoring.--The owner or operator of a well granted

15

inactive status shall be responsible for monitoring the

16

mechanical integrity of the well to ensure that the requirements

17

of subsection (a)(1) and (2) are met and shall report the same

18

on an annual basis to the department in the manner and form

19

prescribed by departmental regulations.

20

(c)  (Reserved).

21

(d)  Return to active status.--A well granted inactive status

22

under subsection (a) shall be plugged in accordance with section

23

3220 (relating to plugging requirements) or returned to active

24

status within five years of the date inactive status was

25

granted, unless the owner or operator applies for an extension

26

of inactive status which may be granted on a year-to-year basis

27

if the department determines that the owner or operator has

28

demonstrated ability to continue meeting the requirements of

29

this section and the owner or operator certifies that the well

30

will be of future use within a reasonable period of time. An

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1

owner or operator who has been granted inactive status for a

2

well which is returned to active status prior to expiration of

3

the five-year period set forth in subsection (a) shall notify

4

the department that the well has been returned to active status

5

and shall not be permitted to apply for another automatic five-

6

year period of inactive status for the well. The owner or

7

operator may make application to return the well to inactive

8

status, and the application may be approved on a year-to-year

9

basis if the department determines that the owner or operator

10

has demonstrated an ability to continue meeting the requirements

11

of this section and the owner or operator certifies that the

12

well will be of future use within a reasonable period of time.

13

The department shall approve or deny an application to extend a

14

period of inactive status or to return a well to inactive status

15

within 60 days of receipt of the application, and the

16

application shall not be unreasonably denied. If the department

17

has not completed its review of the application within 60 days,

18

the inactive status shall continue until the department has made

19

a determination on the request. If the department denies an

20

application to extend the period of inactive status or to return

21

a well to inactive status, a well owner or operator aggrieved by

22

the denial shall have the right to appeal the denial to the

23

Environmental Hearing Board within 30 days of receipt of the

24

denial. Upon cause shown by a well owner or operator, the board

25

may grant a supersedeas under section 4 of the act of July 13,

26

1988 (P.L.530, No.94), known as the Environmental Hearing Board

27

Act, so that the well in question may retain inactive status

28

during the period of the appeal.

29

(e)  Revocation of inactive status.--The department may

30

revoke inactive status and order immediate plugging of a well if

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1

the well is in violation of this chapter or rules or regulations

2

promulgated under this chapter or if the owner or operator

3

demonstrates inability to perform obligations under this chapter

4

or becomes financially insolvent, or upon receipt by the

5

department of notice of bankruptcy proceedings by the permittee.

6

§ 3215.  Well location restrictions.

7

(a)  General rule.--Wells may not be drilled within 200 feet,

8

or in the case of an unconventional well within 500 feet,

9

measured horizontally from any existing building or existing

10

water well without written consent of the owner of the building

11

or water well. If the distance restriction would deprive the

12

owner of the oil and gas rights of the right to produce or share

13

in the oil or gas underlying the surface tract, the well

14

operator may be granted a variance from the distance restriction

15

upon submission of a plan identifying the additional measures,

16

facilities or practices to be employed during well site

17

construction, drilling and operations. The variance, if granted,

18

shall include additional terms and conditions required by the

19

department to ensure safety and protection of affected persons

20

and property, including insurance, bonding, indemnification and

21

technical requirements.

22

(b)  Limitation.--No well site may be prepared or well

23

drilled within 100 feet, or in the case of an unconventional

24

well within 300 feet, measured horizontally from any stream,

25

spring or body of water as identified on the most current 7 1/2

26

minute topographic quadrangle map of the United States

27

Geological Survey or within 100 feet of any wetlands greater

28

than one acre in size. No unconventional well may be located

29

within 1,000 feet from a public water supply source as defined

30

in the Safe Drinking Water Act (Public Law 93-523, 21 U.S.C. §

- 43 -

 


1

349 and 42 U.S.C. §§ 201 and 300f et seq.). The department may

2

waive the distance restrictions upon submission of a plan

3

identifying additional measures, facilities or practices to be

4

employed during well site construction, drilling and operations.

5

The waiver, if granted, shall impose permit conditions necessary

6

to protect the waters of the Commonwealth.

7

(c)  Impact.--On making a determination on a well permit, the

8

department shall consider and may deny or condition a well

9

permit based on the impact of the proposed well on public

10

resources, including, but not limited to:

11

(1)  Publicly owned parks, forests, game lands and

12

wildlife areas.

13

(2)  National or State scenic rivers.

14

(3)  National natural landmarks.

15

(4)  Habitats of rare and endangered flora and fauna and

16

other critical communities.

17

(5)  Historical and archaeological sites listed on the

18

Federal or State list of historic places.

19

(6)  Sources used for public drinking water supplies.

20

(7)  Whether the proposed well location is within a

21

floodplain.

22

(d)  Additional protective measures.--The department may

23

establish additional protective measures for storage of

24

hazardous chemicals and materials intended to be used, or that

25

have been used, on an unconventional well drilling site within

26

750 feet of a stream, spring or body of water identified on the

27

most current 7 1/2 minute topographic quadrangle map of the

28

United States Geological Survey.

29

§ 3216.  Well site restoration.

30

(a)  General rule.--Each oil or gas well owner or operator

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1

shall restore the land surface within the area disturbed in

2

siting, drilling, completing and producing the well.

3

(b)  Plan.--During and after earthmoving or soil disturbing

4

activities, including, but not limited to, activities related to

5

siting, drilling, completing, producing and plugging the well,

6

erosion and sedimentation control measures shall be implemented

7

in accordance with an erosion and sedimentation control plan

8

prepared in accordance with the act of June 22, 1937 (P.L.1987,

9

No.394), known as The Clean Streams Law.

10

(c)  Pits, drilling supplies and equipment.--Within nine

11

months after completion of drilling of a well, the owner or

12

operator shall restore the well site, remove or fill all pits

13

used to contain produced fluids or industrial wastes and remove

14

all drilling supplies and equipment not needed for production.

15

Drilling supplies and equipment not needed for production may be

16

stored on the well site if express written consent of the

17

surface landowner is obtained.

18

(d)  Items related to production or storage.--Within nine

19

months after plugging a well, the owner or operator shall remove

20

all production or storage facilities, supplies and equipment and

21

restore the well site.

22

(e)  Clean Streams Law.--Restoration activities required by

23

this chapter or in regulations promulgated under this chapter

24

shall also comply with all applicable provisions of The Clean

25

Streams Law.

26

(f)  Violation of chapter.--Failure to restore the well site

27

as required in this chapter or regulations promulgated under

28

this chapter constitutes a violation of this chapter.

29

(g)  Extension.--The restoration period may be extended by

30

the department for an additional six months upon application of

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1

the well owner or operator upon evidence of inability to comply

2

due to adverse weather conditions or lack of essential fuel,

3

equipment or labor.

4

§ 3217.  Protection of fresh groundwater and casing

5

requirements.

6

(a)  General rule.--To aid in protection of fresh

7

groundwater, well operators shall control and dispose of brines

8

produced from the drilling, alteration or operation of an oil or

9

gas well in a manner consistent with the act of June 22, 1937

10

(P.L.1987, No.394), known as The Clean Streams Law, or any rule

11

or regulation promulgated under The Clean Streams Law.

12

(b)  Casing.--To prevent migration of gas or fluids into

13

sources of fresh groundwater and pollution or diminution of

14

fresh groundwater, a string or strings of casing shall be run

15

and permanently cemented in each well drilled through the fresh

16

water-bearing strata to a depth and in a manner prescribed by

17

regulation by the department.

18

(c)  Procedure when coal has been removed.--If a well is

19

drilled at a location where coal has been removed from one or

20

more coal seams, the well shall be drilled and cased to prevent

21

migration of gas or fluids into the seam from which coal has

22

been removed, in a manner prescribed by regulation of the

23

department. The department and the coal operator, owner or

24

lessee shall be given at least 72 hours' notice prior to

25

commencement of work protecting the mine.

26

(d)  Procedure when coal has not been removed.--If a well is

27

drilled at a location where the coal seam has not been removed,

28

the well shall be drilled to a depth and of a size sufficient to

29

permit placement of casing, packers in and vents on the hole at

30

the points and in the manner prescribed by regulation to exclude

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1

gas or fluids from the coal seam, except gas or fluids found

2

naturally in the seam itself, and to enable monitoring the

3

integrity of the production casing.

4

§ 3218.  Protection of water supplies.

5

(a)  General rule.--In addition to the requirements of

6

subsection (c.1), a well operator who affects a public or

7

private water supply by pollution or diminution shall restore or

8

replace the affected supply with an alternate source of water

9

adequate in quantity or quality for the purposes served by the

10

supply. The department shall ensure the restored or replaced

11

water supply meets the applicable water quality standards

12

consistent with the Safe Drinking Water Act (Public Law 93-523,

13

21 U.S.C. § 349 and 42 U.S.C. §§ 201 and 300f et seq.), the act

14

of May 1, 1984 (P.L.206, No.43), known as the Pennsylvania Safe

15

Drinking Water Act, and predrilling or alteration water quantity

16

standards as determined by the department. The Environmental

17

Quality Board shall promulgate regulations necessary to meet the

18

requirements of this subsection.

19

(b)  Pollution or diminution of water supply.--A landowner or

20

water purveyor suffering pollution or diminution of a water

21

supply as a result of the drilling, alteration or operation of

22

an oil or gas well may so notify the department and request that

23

an investigation be conducted. Within ten days of notification,

24

the department shall investigate the claim and make a

25

determination within 45 days following notification. If the

26

department finds that the pollution or diminution was caused by

27

drilling, alteration or operation activities or if it presumes

28

the well operator responsible for pollution under subsection

29

(c), the department shall issue orders to the well operator

30

necessary to assure compliance with subsection (a), including

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1

orders requiring temporary replacement of a water supply where

2

it is determined that pollution or diminution may be of limited

3

duration.

4

(b.1)  Toll-free telephone number.--The department shall

5

establish a single Statewide toll-free telephone number that

6

persons may use to report cases of water contamination. The

7

Statewide toll-free telephone number shall be provided in a

8

conspicuous manner in the notification required under section

9

3211(b.1) (relating to well permits) and on the department's

10

Internet website.

11

(b.2)  Responses to calls.--The department shall develop

12

appropriate administrative responses to calls received on the

13

Statewide toll-free telephone number for water contamination.

14

(c)  Presumption.--Unless rebutted by a defense established

15

in subsection (d), it shall be presumed that a well operator is

16

responsible for pollution of a water supply that is within 1,000 

17

feet, or in the case of an unconventional well within 3,000

18

feet, of an oil or gas well, if pollution occurred within 12

19

months after stimulation or alteration of the well.

20

(c.1)  Requirement.--If the affected water supply is within

21

the rebuttable presumption area as provided in subsection (c)

22

and the rebuttable presumption applies and the water user is

23

without a readily available alternative source of water, the

24

operator shall provide a temporary water supply. The temporary

25

water supply provided under this subsection shall be adequate in

26

quantity and quality for the purposes served by the supply.

27

(d)  Defenses.--To rebut the presumption established under

28

subsection (c), a well operator must affirmatively prove any of

29

the following:

30

(1)  The pollution existed prior to the drilling,

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1

stimulation or alteration activities as determined by a

2

predrilling or prealteration survey.

3

(2)  The landowner or water purveyor refused to allow the

4

operator access to conduct a predrilling or prealteration

5

survey.

6

(3)  The water supply is not within 1,000 feet, or in the

7

case of an unconventional well within 3,000 feet, of the

8

well.

9

(4)  The pollution occurred more than 12 months after

10

drilling, stimulation or alteration activities.

11

(5)  The pollution occurred as the result of a cause

12

other than the drilling, stimulation or alteration activity.

13

(e)  Independent certified laboratory.--An operator electing

14

to preserve a defense under subsection (d)(1) or (2) shall

15

retain an independent certified laboratory to conduct a

16

predrilling or prealteration survey of the water supply. A copy

17

of survey results shall be submitted to the department and the

18

landowner or water purveyor in the manner prescribed by the

19

department.

20

(f)  Other remedies preserved.--Nothing in this section shall

21

prevent a landowner or water purveyor claiming pollution or

22

diminution of a water supply from seeking any other remedy at

23

law or in equity.

24

(g)  Facility operation qualifications.--The department shall

25

ensure that a facility which seeks a National Pollutant

26

Discharge Elimination System permit for the purposes of treating

27

and discharging wastewater originating from oil and gas

28

activities into waters of this Commonwealth is operated by a

29

competent and qualified individual.

30

§ 3218.1.  Containment for unconventional wells.

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1

(a)  Sites.--Unconventional well pad sites shall be designed

2

and constructed to prevent spills to the ground surface or

3

spills off the well pad area. Containment practices shall meet

4

all of the following:

5

(1)  Be instituted on the pad during both drilling and

6

hydraulic fracturing operations.

7

(2)  Be sufficiently impervious and able to contain

8

spilled material or waste until it can be removed or treated.

9

(3)  Be compatible with the waste material or waste

10

stored or used within the containment.

11

(b)  Plan.--The applicant shall submit a plan to the

12

department describing the containment practices to be utilized

13

and the area of the well pad where containment systems will be

14

employed. The plan shall include a description of the equipment

15

to be kept onsite during drilling and hydraulic fracturing

16

operations to prevent a spill from leaving the well pad.

17

(c)  Materials stored.--Containment systems shall be used

18

wherever any of the following are stored:

19

(1)  Drilling mud.

20

(2)  Hydraulic oil.

21

(3)  Diesel fuel.

22

(4)  Drilling mud additives.

23

(5)  Hydraulic fracturing additives.

24

(6)  Hydraulic fracturing flowback.

25

(d)  Capacity.--Areas where any additives, chemicals, oils or

26

fuels are to be stored must have sufficient containment capacity

27

to hold the volume of the largest container stored in the area

28

plus 10% to allow for precipitation, unless the container is

29

equipped with individual secondary containment.

30

§ 3218.2.  Transportation records regarding wastewater fluids.

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1

(a)  Requirements.--A well operator that transports

2

wastewater fluids shall do all of the following:

3

(1)  Maintain records for five years, in accordance with

4

regulations under subsection (b) and on a form approved by

5

the department, of the amount and destination of the fluids

6

transported.

7

(2)  Make the records available to the department upon

8

request.

9

(b)  Recordkeeping.--Recordkeeping requirements shall be

10

determined by the department and shall include the following:

11

(1)  The number of gallons of wastewater fluids produced

12

in the drilling, stimulation or alteration of a well.

13

(2)  Upon completion of the well, the name of the person

14

or company that transported the wastewater fluids to a

15

disposal site or to a location other than the well site.

16

(3)  Each location where wastewater fluids were disposed

17

of or transported and the volumes that were disposed of at

18

the location.

19

(4)  The method of disposal.

20

§ 3218.3.  Emergency response information.

21

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the

22

department shall adopt emergency regulations directing the

23

operators of all unconventional wells to do all of the

24

following:

25

(1)  Adopt a unique GPS coordinate address for each

26

unconventional well at both the access road entrance and well

27

pad site.

28

(2)  Register that address with the agency, the

29

department and the county emergency management organization

30

within the county where the unconventional well is located.

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1

(3)  Require the development of an emergency response

2

plan and file that plan with the agency, the department and

3

the county emergency management organization with

4

jurisdiction over the unconventional well. The county shall

5

disseminate the GPS address and emergency response plan to

6

the local emergency management organization in which the

7

unconventional well is located.

8

(4)  Post a reflective sign at the entrance to each well

9

site with the specific address of that site, the coordinates

10

for the site, the emergency contact number for the operator

11

and any other information as the agency or the department

12

deems necessary.

13

§ 3219.  Use of safety devices.

14

Any person engaged in drilling an oil or gas well shall equip

15

it with casings of sufficient strength, and other safety devices

16

as are necessary, in the manner prescribed by regulation of the

17

department, and shall use every effort and endeavor effectively

18

to prevent blowouts, explosions and fires.

19

§ 3220.  Plugging requirements.

20

(a)  General rule.--Upon abandoning a well, the owner or

21

operator shall plug it in the manner prescribed by regulation of

22

the department to stop vertical flow of fluids or gas within the

23

well bore, unless the department has granted inactive status for

24

the well or it has been approved by the department as an orphan

25

well. If the department determines that a prior owner or

26

operator received economic benefit, other than economic benefit

27

derived only as a landowner or from a royalty interest, after

28

April 18, 1979, from an orphan well or an unregistered well, the

29

owner or operator shall be responsible for plugging the well. In

30

the case of a gas well penetrating a workable coal seam which

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1

was drilled prior to January 30, 1956, or which was permitted

2

after that date but not plugged in accordance with this chapter,

3

if the owner or operator or a coal operator or an agent proposes

4

to plug the well to allow mining through of it, the gas well

5

shall be cleaned to a depth of at least 200 feet below the coal

6

seam through which mining is proposed and, unless impracticable,

7

to a point 200 feet below the deepest mineable coal seam. The

8

gas well shall be plugged from that depth in accordance with

9

section 13 of the act of December 18, 1984 (P.L.1069, No.214),

10

known as the Coal and Gas Resource Coordination Act, and the

11

regulations of the department.

12

(b)  Areas underlain by coal.--Prior to the plugging and

13

abandonment of a well in an area underlain by a workable coal

14

seam, the well operator or owner shall notify the department and

15

the coal operator, lessee or owner and submit a plat, on a form

16

to be furnished by the department, showing the location of the

17

well and fixing the date and time plugging will commence, which

18

shall be not less than three working days, nor more than 30

19

days, after the notice is received, to permit representatives of

20

the persons notified to be present at the plugging. Notice and

21

the right to be present may be waived by the department and the

22

coal operator, lessee or owner, but waiver by coal operator,

23

lessee or owner shall be in writing and a copy shall be attached

24

to the notice of abandonment filed with the department under

25

this section. Whether or not representatives attend, if the well

26

operator has fully complied with this section, the well operator

27

may proceed, at the time fixed, to plug the well in the manner

28

prescribed by regulation of the department. When plugging has

29

been completed, a certificate shall be prepared and signed, on a

30

form to be furnished by the department, by two experienced and

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1

qualified people who participated in the work setting forth the

2

time and manner in which the well was plugged. One copy of the

3

certificate shall be mailed to each coal operator, lessee or

4

owner to whom notice was given by certified mail and another

5

shall be mailed to the department.

6

(c)  Abandoned wells.--Prior to abandonment of a well, except

7

an uncompleted bore hole plugged immediately upon suspension of

8

drilling in an area not underlain by a workable coal seam, the

9

well operator shall notify the department of the intention to

10

plug and abandon the well and submit a plat, on a form to be

11

furnished by the department, showing the location of the well

12

and fixing the date and time at which plugging will commence,

13

which shall be not less than three working days, nor more than

14

30 days, after the notice is received, to permit a department

15

representative to be present at the plugging. The notice or

16

waiting period may be verbally waived by the department. In

17

noncoal areas where more than one well has been drilled as part

18

of the same development project and the wells are now to be

19

plugged, the department shall be given three working days'

20

notice prior to plugging the first well of the project, subject

21

to waiver of notice described in subsection (b). In the plugging

22

of subsequent wells, no additional notice shall be required if

23

plugging on the project is continuous. If plugging of subsequent

24

wells is delayed for any reason, notice shall be given to the

25

department of continuation of the project. Whether or not a

26

representative attends, if the well operator has fully complied

27

with this section, the well operator may proceed, at the time

28

fixed, to plug the well in the manner prescribed by regulation

29

of the department. When plugging has been completed, a

30

certificate shall be prepared, on a form to be furnished by the

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1

department, by two experienced and qualified people who

2

participated in the work setting forth the time and manner in

3

which the well was plugged. A copy of the certificate shall be

4

mailed to the department.

5

(d)  Wells abandoned upon completion of drilling.--If a well

6

is to be abandoned immediately after completion of drilling, the

7

well operator shall give at least 24 hours' notice by telephone,

8

confirmed by certified mail, to the department and to the coal

9

operator, lessee or owner, if any, fixing the date and time when

10

plugging will commence. Notice and the right to be present may

11

be waived by the department and the coal operator, lessee or

12

owner, if any. Whether or not representatives of the department

13

or coal operator, lessee or owner, if any, attend, if the well

14

operator has fully complied with the requirements of this

15

section, the well operator may proceed, at the time fixed, to

16

plug the well in the manner provided by regulation of the

17

department. The well operator shall prepare the certificate of

18

plugging and mail copies of the same as provided in subsection

19

(b).

20

(e)  Orphan wells.--If a well is an orphan well or abandoned

21

without plugging, or if a well is in operation but not

22

registered under section 3213 (relating to well registration and

23

identification), the department may enter upon the well site and

24

plug the well and to sell equipment, casing and pipe at the site

25

which may have been used in production of the well in order to

26

recover the costs of plugging. The department shall make an

27

effort to determine ownership of a well which is in operation

28

but has not been registered and provide written notice to the

29

owner of pending action under this subsection. If the department

30

cannot determine ownership within 30 days, it may proceed under

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1

this subsection. Costs of plugging shall have priority over all

2

liens on equipment, casing and pipe, and the sale shall be free

3

and clear of those liens to the extent that the cost of plugging

4

exceeds the sale price. If the amount obtained for casing and

5

pipe salvaged at the site is inadequate to pay for plugging, the

6

owner or operator of the abandoned or unregistered well shall be

7

liable for the additional costs.

8

(f)  Definition.--For purposes of this section, the term

9

"owner" does not include the owner or possessor of surface real

10

property, on which an abandoned well is located, who did not

11

participate or incur costs in and had no right of control over

12

the drilling or extraction operation of the abandoned well.

13

§ 3221.  Alternative methods.

14

A well operator may request permission to use a method or

15

material other than those required by this chapter for casing,

16

plugging or equipping a well in an application to the department

17

which describes the proposed alternative in reasonable detail

18

and indicates the manner in which it will accomplish the goals

19

of this chapter. Notice of filing of the application shall be

20

given by the well operator by certified mail to any affected

21

coal operators, who may, within 15 days after the notice, file

22

objections to the proposed alternative method or material. If no

23

timely objections are filed or raised by the department, the

24

department shall determine whether to allow use of the proposed

25

alternative method or material.

26

§ 3222.  Well reporting requirements.

27

(a)  General rule.--Except as provided in subsection (a.1),

28

each well operator shall file with the department, on a form

29

provided by the department, an annual report specifying the

30

amount of production, on the most well-specific basis available,

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1

along with the status of each well, except that in subsequent

2

years only changes in status must be reported. The Commonwealth

3

may utilize reported information in enforcement proceedings, in

4

making designations or determinations under section 1927-A of

5

the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177, No.175), known as The

6

Administrative Code of 1929, or in aggregate form for

7

statistical purposes.

8

(a.1)  Unconventional wells.--Each operator of a well which

9

produces gas from an unconventional well shall file with the

10

department, on a form provided by the department, a semiannual

11

report specifying the amount of production on the most well-

12

specific basis available. The initial report under this

13

subsection shall be filed on or before August 15, 2010, and

14

shall include production data from the preceding calendar year

15

and specify the status of each well. In subsequent reports, only

16

changes in status must be reported. Subsequent semiannual

17

reports shall be filed with the department on or before February

18

15 and August 15 of each year and shall include production data

19

from the preceding reporting period. The Commonwealth may

20

utilize reported information in enforcement proceedings, in

21

making designations or determinations under section 1927-A of

22

The Administrative Code of 1929 or in aggregate form for

23

statistical purposes. Beginning November 1, 2010, the department

24

shall make the reports available on its publicly accessible

25

Internet website. Costs incurred by the department to comply

26

with the requirements of this subsection shall be paid out of

27

the fees collected under section 3211(d) (relating to well

28

permits).

29

(b)  Collection of data.--Well operators shall maintain a

30

record of each well drilled or altered. A record containing the

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1

information required by the department, including the

2

information required under subsection (b.1), shall be filed

3

within 30 days after stimulation of the well. A completion

4

report containing any additional required information shall be

5

filed within 30 days after the stimulation of the well and shall

6

be kept on file by the department. Upon request of the

7

department, the well operator shall, within 90 days of

8

completion or recompletion of drilling, submit a copy of any

9

electrical, radioactive or other standard industry logs which

10

have been run and, upon request by the department within one

11

year, a copy of drill stem test charts, formation water

12

analysis, porosity, permeability or fluid saturation

13

measurements, core analysis and lithologic log or sample

14

description or other similar data as compiled. No information

15

shall be required unless the well operator had it compiled in

16

the ordinary course of business, and interpretation of data is

17

not required to be filed.

18

(b.1)  Report contents.--The completion report shall contain

19

the operator's stimulation record which shall include the

20

following:

21

(1)  A descriptive list of the chemical additives in the

22

stimulation fluids, including any acid, biocide, breaker,

23

brine, corrosion inhibitor, crosslinker, demulsifier,

24

friction reducer, get, iron control, oxygen scavenger, pH

25

adjusting agent, proppant, scale inhibitor and surfactant.

26

(2)  The percent by volume of each chemical additive in

27

the stimulation fluid.

28

(3)  A list of the chemicals in the material safety data

29

sheets, by name and chemical abstract service number,

30

corresponding to the appropriate chemical additive.

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1

(4)  The percent by volume of each chemical list in the

2

material safety data sheets.

3

(5)  The total volume of the base fluid.

4

(6)  A list of water sources used under the approved

5

water management plan and the volume of water used.

6

(7)  The pump rates and pressure used in the well.

7

(8)  The total volume of recycled water used.

8

(b.2)  Trade secret or confidential proprietary

9

information.--When an operator submits its stimulation record

10

under subsection (b.1), it may designate specific portions of

11

the stimulation record as containing a trade secret or

12

confidential proprietary information. The department shall

13

prevent disclosure of the designated confidential information to

14

the extent permitted by the act of February 14, 2008 (P.L.6,

15

No.3), known as the Right-to-Know Law, or other Federal or State

16

law.

17

(b.3)  List of the chemical constituents.--In addition to

18

submitting a stimulation record to the department under

19

subsection (b.1) and subject to the protections afforded for

20

trade secrets and confidential proprietary information under the

21

Right-to-Know Law, the operator shall provide a list of the

22

chemical constituents of the chemical additives used to

23

hydraulically fracture a well, by name and chemical abstract

24

service number, unless the additive does not have a number, to

25

the department upon written request of the department.

26

(c)  Drill cuttings and core samples.--Upon notification by

27

the department prior to commencement of drilling, the well

28

operator shall collect any additional data specified by the

29

department, including representative drill cuttings and samples

30

from cores taken and any other geological information that the

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1

operator reasonably can compile. Interpretation of the data is

2

not required to be filed.

3

(d)  Retention of data.--Data required under subsection (b)

4

and drill cuttings required under subsection (c) shall be

5

retained by the well operator and filed with the department no

6

more than three years after completion of the well. Upon

7

request, the department shall extend the deadline up to five

8

years from the date of completion of the well. The department

9

shall be entitled to utilize information collected under this

10

subsection in enforcement proceedings, in making designations or

11

determinations under section 1927-A of The Administrative Code

12

of 1929 and in aggregate form for statistical purposes.

13

§ 3223.  Notification and effect of well transfer.

14

The owner or operator of a well shall notify the department

15

in writing within 30 days, in a form directed by regulation, of

16

sale, assignment, transfer, conveyance or exchange by or to the

17

owner of the well. A transfer shall not relieve the well owner

18

or operator of an obligation accrued under this chapter, nor

19

shall it relieve the owner or operator of an obligation to plug

20

the well until the requirements of section 3225 (relating to

21

bonding) have been met, at which time the transferring owner or

22

operator shall be relieved from all obligations under this

23

chapter, including the obligation to plug the well.

24

§ 3224.  Coal operator responsibilities.

25

(a)  General rule.--At any time prior to removing coal or

26

other underground materials from, or extending the workings in,

27

a coal mine within 500 feet of an oil or gas well of which the

28

coal operator has knowledge, or within 500 feet of an approved

29

well location of which the coal operator has knowledge, the coal

30

operator, by certified mail, shall forward to or file with the

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1

well operator and the department a copy of the relevant part of

2

all maps and plans which it is presently required by law to

3

prepare and file with the department, showing the pillar which

4

the coal operator proposes to leave in place around each oil or

5

gas well in the projected workings. Thereafter, the coal

6

operator may proceed with mining operations in the manner

7

projected on the maps and plans, but the operator may not remove

8

coal or cut a passageway within 150 feet of the well or approved

9

well location without written approval under this section. If,

10

in the opinion of the well operator or the department, the plan

11

indicates that the proposed pillar is inadequate to protect

12

either the integrity of the well or public health and safety,

13

the affected well operator shall attempt to reach an agreement

14

with the coal operator on a suitable pillar, subject to approval

15

of the department. Upon failure to agree, the well operator may,

16

within ten days after receipt of the proposed plan under this

17

section, file objections under section 3251 (relating to

18

conferences), indicating the size of the pillar to be left as to

19

each well. If objections are not timely filed and the department

20

has none, the department shall grant approval, reciting that

21

maps and plans have been filed, no objections have been made

22

thereto and the pillar proposed to be left for each well is

23

approved in the manner as projected.

24

(b)  Objections.--If an objection is filed by the well

25

operator or raised by the department, the department shall order

26

that a conference be held under section 3251 within ten days of

27

the filing of objections. At the conference, the coal operator

28

and the person who has objected shall attempt to agree on a

29

proposed plan, showing the pillar to be left around each well,

30

which will satisfy the objections and receive department

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1

approval. If an agreement is reached, the department shall grant

2

approval to the coal operator, reciting that a plan has been

3

filed and the pillar to be left for each well is approved

4

pursuant to the agreement. If an agreement is not reached on a

5

plan showing the pillar to be left with respect to a well, the

6

department, by appropriate order, shall determine the pillar to

7

be left with respect to the well. In a proceeding under this

8

section, the department shall follow as nearly as is possible

9

the original plan filed by the coal operator. The department

10

shall not require the coal operator to leave a pillar in excess

11

of 100 feet in radius, except that the department may require a

12

pillar of up to 150 feet in radius if the existence of unusual

13

conditions is established. Pillars determined by the department

14

shall be shown on maps or plans on file with the department as

15

provided in subsection (a) and the department shall approve the

16

pillar to be left for each well.

17

(c)  Pillars of reduced size.--Application may be made at any

18

time to the department by the coal operator to leave a pillar of

19

a size smaller than shown on the plan approved or determined by

20

the department under this section. If an application is filed,

21

the department shall:

22

(1)  follow the appropriate procedure under subsection

23

(a) or (b);

24

(2)  by appropriate order, determine a plan involving a

25

pillar of a smaller size as to any well covered by the

26

application; and

27

(3)  grant approval for the pillar to be left with

28

respect to each well.

29

(d)  Violation.--No coal operator, without written approval

30

of the department after notice and opportunity for a hearing

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1

under this section, shall remove coal or cut a passageway so as

2

to leave a pillar of smaller size, with respect to an oil or gas

3

well, than that approved by the department under this chapter.

4

(e)  Limitation.--With regard to a coal pillar required by

5

law to be left around a well drilled prior to April 18, 1985,

6

nothing in this chapter shall be construed to:

7

(1)  require a well operator to pay for the coal pillar;

8

(2)  affect a right which a coal operator may have had

9

prior to April 18, 1985, to obtain payment for the coal

10

pillar; or

11

(3)  affect a duty or right which a storage operator or

12

landowner may have had prior to April 18, 1985, to pay or not

13

pay for the coal pillar.

14

(f)  Mining through plugged wells.--A coal operator who

15

intends to mine through a plugged oil or gas well or otherwise

16

completely remove any pillar from around that well shall file a

17

plan under subsection (a) which shall be subject to all of the

18

provisions of this section. No coal operator may mine through a

19

plugged oil or gas well of which he has knowledge until written

20

approval has been granted by the department in accordance with

21

this section. The Bureau of Deep Mine Safety in the department

22

shall have the authority to establish conditions under which the

23

department may approve a coal operator's plan to mine through a

24

plugged oil or gas well.

25

§ 3225.  Bonding.

26

(a)  General rule.--The following shall apply:

27

(1)  Except as provided in subsection (d), upon filing an

28

application for a well permit, and before continuing to

29

operate an oil or gas well, the owner or operator of the well

30

shall file with the department a bond covering the well and

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1

well site on a form to be prescribed and furnished by the

2

department. A bond filed with an application for a well

3

permit shall be payable to the Commonwealth and conditioned

4

upon the operator's faithful performance of all drilling,

5

water supply replacement, restoration and plugging

6

requirements of this chapter. A bond for a well in existence

7

on April 18, 1985, shall be payable to the Commonwealth and

8

conditioned upon the operator's faithful performance of all

9

water supply replacement, restoration and plugging

10

requirements of this chapter. The amount of the bond required

11

shall be in the following amounts and shall be adjusted by

12

the Environmental Quality Board every three years to reflect

13

the projected costs to the Commonwealth of plugging the well:

14

(i)  For a well which is less than 6,000 feet in

15

depth and which is permitted prior to the effective date

16

of this section, $2,500. The operator shall not be

17

required to provide a bond under this paragraph which

18

exceeds $25,000. The bond amount may be adjusted by the

19

Environmental Quality Board every two years to reflect

20

the projected costs to the Commonwealth of performing

21

well plugging.

22

(ii)  For a well which is less than 6,000 feet in

23

bore length and which is permitted after the effective

24

date of this section, $3,500. The operator shall not be

25

required to provide a bond under this paragraph which

26

exceeds $40,000.

27

(iii)  For wells with a total well bore length

28

greater than 6,000 feet:

29

(A)  For operating up to 25 wells, $10,000 per

30

well, provided the operator may not be required to 

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1

provide a bond under this section exceeding $120,000.

2

(B)  For operating 26 to 50 wells, $120,000 plus

3

$10,000 per well for each well in excess of 25 wells,

4

provided the operator may not be required to provide

5

a bond under this section exceeding $240,000.

6

(C)  For operating 51 to 150 wells, $240,000 plus

7

$10,000 per well for each well in excess of 50 wells,

8

provided the operator may not be required to provide

9

a bond under this section exceeding $360,000.

10

(D)  For operating more than 150 wells, $360,000

11

plus $10,000 per well for each well in excess of 150

12

wells, provided the operator may not be required to

13

provide a bond under this section exceeding $500,000.

14

(2)  In lieu of individual bonds for each well, an owner

15

or operator may file a blanket bond, for the appropriate

16

amount as indicated under paragraph (1), on a form prepared

17

by the department, covering all of its wells in this

18

Commonwealth, as enumerated on the bond form.

19

(3)  Liability under the bond shall continue until the

20

well has been properly plugged in accordance with this

21

chapter and for a period of one year after filing of the

22

certificate of plugging with the department. Each bond shall

23

be executed by the operator and a corporate surety licensed

24

to do business in this Commonwealth and approved by the

25

secretary. In lieu of a corporate surety, the operator may

26

deposit with the department:

27

(i)  cash;

28

(ii)  certificates of deposit or automatically

29

renewable irrevocable letters of credit, from financial

30

institutions chartered or authorized to do business in

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1

this Commonwealth and regulated and examined by the

2

Commonwealth or a Federal agency, which may be terminated

3

at the end of a term only upon 90 days' prior written

4

notice by the financial institution to the permittee and

5

the department;

6

(iii)  negotiable bonds of the United States

7

Government or the Commonwealth, the Pennsylvania Turnpike

8

Commission, the State Public School Building Authority or

9

any municipality within the Commonwealth; or

10

(iv)  United States Treasury Bonds issued at a

11

discount without a regular schedule of interest payments

12

to maturity, otherwise known as Zero Coupon Bonds, having

13

a maturity date of not more than ten years after the date

14

of purchase and at the maturity date having a value under

15

paragraph (1). The cash deposit, certificate of deposit,

16

amount of the irrevocable letter of credit or market

17

value of the securities shall be equal at least to the

18

sum of the bond.

19

(4)  The secretary shall, upon receipt of a deposit of

20

cash, letters of credit or negotiable bonds, immediately

21

place the same with the State Treasurer, whose duty it shall

22

be to receive and hold the same in the name of the

23

Commonwealth, in trust, for the purpose for which the deposit

24

is made.

25

(5)  The State Treasurer shall at all times be

26

responsible for custody and safekeeping of deposits. The

27

operator making the deposit shall be entitled from time to

28

time to demand and receive from the State Treasurer, on the

29

written order of the secretary, the whole or any portion of

30

collateral deposited, upon depositing with the State

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1

Treasurer, in lieu of that collateral, other collateral of

2

classes specified in this section having a market value at

3

least equal to the sum of the bond, and also to demand,

4

receive and recover the interest and income from the

5

negotiable bonds as they become due and payable.

6

(6)  If negotiable bonds on deposit under this subsection

7

mature or are called, the State Treasurer, at the request of

8

the owner of the bonds, shall convert them into other

9

negotiable bonds, of classes specified in this section,

10

designated by the owner.

11

(7)  If notice of intent to terminate a letter of credit

12

is given, the department shall give the operator 30 days'

13

written notice to replace the letter of credit with other

14

acceptable bond guarantees as provided in this section. If

15

the owner or operator fails to timely replace the letter of

16

credit, the department shall draw upon and convert the letter

17

of credit into cash and hold it as a collateral bond

18

guarantee.

19

(b)  Release.--No bond shall be fully released until the

20

requirements of subsection (a) and section 3223 (relating to

21

notification and effect of well transfer) have been fully met.

22

Upon release of bonds and collateral under this section, the

23

State Treasurer shall immediately return to the owner the

24

specified amount of cash or securities.

25

(c)  Noncompliance.--If a well owner or operator fails or

26

refuses to comply with subsection (a), regulations promulgated

27

under this chapter or conditions of a permit relating to this

28

chapter, the department may declare the bond forfeited and shall

29

certify the same to the Attorney General, who shall proceed to

30

enforce and collect the full amount of the bond and, if the well

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1

owner or operator has deposited cash or securities as collateral

2

in lieu of a corporate surety, the department shall declare the

3

collateral forfeited and direct the State Treasurer to pay the

4

full amount of the funds into the Well Plugging Restricted

5

Revenue Account or to sell the security to the extent forfeited

6

and pay the proceeds into the Well Plugging Restricted Revenue

7

Account. If a corporate surety or financial institution fails to

8

pay a forfeited bond promptly and in full, the corporate surety

9

or financial institution shall be disqualified from writing

10

further bonds under this chapter or any other environmental law

11

administered by the department. A person aggrieved by reason of

12

forfeiting the bond or converting collateral, as provided in

13

this section, shall have a right to appeal to the Environmental

14

Hearing Board in the manner provided by law. Upon forfeiture of

15

a blanket bond for a violation occurring at one or more well

16

sites, the person whose bond is forfeited shall, within ten days

17

of the forfeiture, submit a replacement bond to cover all other

18

wells of which the person is an owner or operator. Failure to

19

submit the replacement bond constitutes a violation of this

20

section as to each of the wells owned or operated by the person.

21

(d)  Alternatives to certain bonds.--The following shall

22

apply:

23

(1)  An operator of not more than 200 wells that cannot

24

obtain a bond for a well drilled prior to April 18, 1985, as

25

required under subsection (a), due to inability to

26

demonstrate sufficient financial resources may, in lieu of

27

the bond:

28

(i)  Submit to the department a fee in the amount of

29

$50 per well, a blanket fee of $500 for ten to 20 wells

30

or a blanket fee of $1,000 for more than 20 wells, which

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1

shall be a nonrefundable fee paid each year that the

2

operator has not filed a bond with the department. All

3

fees collected in lieu of a bond under this subsection

4

shall be used for the purposes authorized by this

5

chapter. The Environmental Quality Board shall have the

6

power, by regulation, to increase the amount of the fees

7

established under this subsection.

8

(ii)  Make phased deposits of collateral to fully

9

collateralize the bond, subject to the following:

10

(A)  Payment shall be based on the number of

11

wells owned or operated. The operator shall make an

12

initial deposit and make annual deposits in

13

accordance with the schedule in clause (B). Interest

14

accumulated by the collateral shall become a part of

15

the bond until the collateral plus accumulated

16

interest equals the amount of the required bond. The

17

collateral shall be deposited, in trust, with the

18

State Treasurer as provided in this subsection or

19

with a bank selected by the department which shall

20

act as trustee for the benefit of the Commonwealth to

21

guarantee the operator's compliance with the

22

drilling, water supply replacement, restoration and

23

plugging requirements of this chapter. The operator

24

shall be required to pay all costs of the trust.

25

(B)  An operator of up to ten existing wells that

26

does not intend to operate additional wells shall

27

deposit $250 per well and shall, thereafter, annually

28

deposit $50 per well until the obligations of this

29

section are fully met. An operator of 11 to 25 wells

30

or an operator of up to ten wells that applies for

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1

one or more permits for additional wells shall

2

deposit $2,000 and shall, thereafter, annually

3

deposit $1,150 plus $150 for each additional well to

4

be permitted that year until the obligations of this

5

section are fully met. An operator of 26 to 50 wells

6

shall deposit $3,000 and shall, thereafter, annually

7

deposit $1,300 plus $400 for each additional well to

8

be permitted that year until the obligations of this

9

section are fully met. An operator of 51 to 100 wells

10

shall deposit $4,000 and shall, thereafter, annually

11

deposit $1,500 plus $400 for each additional well to

12

be permitted that year until the obligations of this

13

section are fully met. Operators of 101 to 200 wells

14

shall deposit $8,000 and shall, thereafter, annually

15

deposit $1,600 plus $1,000 for each additional well

16

to be permitted that year until the obligations of

17

this section are fully met. Operators of more than

18

200 wells shall fully bond their wells immediately.

19

(C)  The department shall reduce the amount of

20

phased collateral payments or the period of time over

21

which phased collateral payments shall be made on

22

behalf of owners or operators that, prior to August

23

3, 1992, have paid a fee in lieu of bond under

24

subparagraph (i), and that, by August 3, 1993, chose

25

to enter the phased collateral program under this

26

subparagraph rather than continue to make payments in

27

lieu of bond. Payments made prior to August 3, 1992,

28

in lieu of bond shall not be credited in any other

29

manner, and the department shall not be required to

30

refund the fees. The Environmental Quality Board, by

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1

regulation, may change the annual deposits

2

established under clause (B) if necessary to

3

accommodate a change in the amount of the bond

4

required under this section.

5

(2)  An operator may continue to pay a fee in lieu of

6

bond or make phased deposits of collateral to fully

7

collateralize the bond so long as the operator does not miss

8

a payment under this subsection and remains in compliance

9

with this chapter. If an operator misses a payment under this

10

subsection, the operator shall immediately:

11

(i)  submit the appropriate bond amount in full; or

12

(ii)  cease all operations and plug all wells.

13

(d.1)  Individuals.--The following shall apply:

14

(1)  An individual who is unable to obtain a bond to

15

drill new wells due to inability to demonstrate financial

16

resources may meet the collateral bond requirements of

17

subsection (a) by making phased deposits of collateral to

18

fully collateralize the bond. The individual shall be limited

19

to drilling ten new wells per calendar year and, for each

20

well to be drilled, deposit $500 and make an annual deposit

21

of 10% of the remaining bond amount for a period of ten

22

years. Interest accumulated shall become a part of the bond

23

until the collateral plus accumulated interest equal the

24

amount of the required bond. The collateral shall be

25

deposited in trust with the State Treasurer under subsection

26

(a) or with a bank selected by the department which shall act

27

as trustee for the benefit of the Commonwealth to guarantee

28

the individual's compliance with the drilling, water supply

29

replacement, restoration and plugging requirements of this

30

chapter. The individual shall pay all costs of the trust.

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1

(2)  Individuals may continue to use phased collateral to

2

obtain permits if they have not missed a payment for a well

3

drilled under this provision and remain in compliance with

4

this chapter. If an individual misses a payment, the

5

individual shall:

6

(i)  immediately submit the appropriate bond amount

7

in full; or

8

(ii)  cease all operations and plug all wells.

9

(3)  For purposes of this subsection, an "individual"

10

means a natural person doing business under his own name.

11

(e)  Reservation of remedies.--All remedies violating this

12

chapter, regulations adopted under this chapter and conditions

13

of permits are expressly preserved. Nothing in this section

14

shall be construed as an exclusive penalty or remedy for

15

violations of law. No action taken under this section shall

16

waive or impair any other remedy or penalty provided in law.

17

(f)  Change of law.--Owners or operators that have failed to

18

meet the requirements of this section shall not be required to

19

make payments under this section on a retroactive basis as a

20

condition of obtaining a permit under this chapter, nor shall

21

the failure be deemed a violation of this chapter.

22

§ 3226.  Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board.

23

(a)  Creation of board.--The Oil and Gas Technical Advisory

24

Board is created, consisting of the following members, all of

25

whom shall be chosen by the Governor and shall be residents of

26

this Commonwealth:

27

(1)  Three individuals, each of whom shall be:

28

(i)  a petroleum engineer;

29

(ii)  a petroleum geologist; or

30

(iii)  an experienced driller representative of the

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1

oil and gas industry with three years of experience in

2

this Commonwealth.

3

(2)  One mining engineer from the coal industry with

4

three years of experience in this Commonwealth.

5

(3)  One geologist or petroleum engineer with three years

6

of experience in this Commonwealth, who shall be chosen from

7

a list of three names submitted by the Citizens Advisory

8

Council to the Governor and who shall sit as a representative

9

of the public interest.

10

(b)  Reimbursement.--Board members shall not receive a salary

11

but shall be reimbursed for all necessary expenses incurred in

12

the performance of their duties.

13

(c)  Majority vote.--All actions of the board shall be by

14

majority vote. The board shall meet as called by the secretary,

15

but not less than semiannually, to carry out its duties under

16

this chapter. The board shall select a chairman and other

17

officers deemed appropriate.

18

(d)  Consultation.--The department shall consult with the

19

board in the formulation, drafting and presentation stages of

20

all regulations of a technical nature promulgated under this

21

chapter. The board shall be given a reasonable opportunity to

22

review and comment on all regulations of a technical nature

23

prior to submission to the Environmental Quality Board for

24

initial consideration. The written report of the board shall be

25

presented to the Environmental Quality Board with any regulatory

26

proposal. The chairman of the board shall be invited to

27

participate in the presentation of all regulations of a

28

technical nature before the Environmental Quality Board to the

29

extent allowed by procedures of the Environmental Quality Board.

30

Nothing herein shall preclude any member of the board from

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1

filing a petition for rulemaking with the Environmental Quality

2

Board in accordance with procedures established by the

3

Environmental Quality Board.

4

SUBCHAPTER C

5

UNDERGROUND GAS STORAGE

6

Sec.

7

3231.  Reporting requirements for gas storage operations.

8

3232.  Reporting requirements for coal mining operations.

9

3233.  General gas storage reservoir operations.

10

3234.  Gas storage reservoir operations in coal areas.

11

3235.  Inspection of facilities and records.

12

3236.  Reliance on maps and burden of proof.

13

3237.  Exemptions and prohibitions.

14

§ 3231.  Reporting requirements for gas storage operations.

15

(a)  General rule.--The following shall apply:

16

(1)  A person injecting into or storing gas in a storage

17

reservoir underlying or within 3,000 linear feet of a coal

18

mine operating in a coal seam that extends over the storage

19

reservoir or reservoir protective area shall, within 60 days,

20

file with the department a copy of a map and certain data in

21

the form and manner provided in this subsection or as

22

otherwise prescribed by regulation of the department.

23

(2)  A person injecting gas into or storing gas in a

24

storage reservoir which is not under or within 3,000 linear

25

feet of, but less than 10,000 linear feet from, a coal mine

26

operating in a coal seam that extends over the storage

27

reservoir or reservoir protective area shall file the map and

28

data within 60 days or a longer period set by departmental

29

regulation.

30

(3)  A person proposing to inject or store gas in a

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1

storage reservoir located as defined in paragraph (1) or (2)

2

shall file the appropriate required map and data with the

3

department not less than six months prior to starting the

4

actual injection or storage.

5

(4)  A map required by this subsection shall be prepared

6

by a competent engineer or geologist, showing:

7

(i)  the stratum in which the existing or proposed

8

storage reservoir is or is proposed to be located;

9

(ii)  the geographic location of the outside

10

boundaries of the storage reservoir and reservoir

11

protective area;

12

(iii)  the location of all known oil or gas wells in

13

the reservoir or within 3,000 linear feet thereof which

14

have been drilled into or through the storage stratum,

15

indicating which have been or are to be cleaned out and

16

plugged or reconditioned for storage along with the

17

proposed location of all additional wells which are to be

18

drilled within the storage reservoir or within 3,000

19

linear feet thereof.

20

(5)  The following, if available, shall be furnished for

21

all known oil or gas wells which have been drilled into or

22

through the storage stratum within the storage reservoir or

23

within 3,000 linear feet of the storage reservoir:

24

(i)  Name of the operator.

25

(ii)  Date drilled.

26

(iii)  Total depth.

27

(iv)  Depth of production if the well was productive

28

of oil or gas.

29

(v)  Initial rock pressure and volume.

30

(vi)  Depths at which all coal seams were

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1

encountered.

2

(vii)  A copy of the driller's log or other similar

3

information.

4

(5.1)  At the time of the filing of the maps and data, a

5

statement shall be filed:

6

(i)  detailing efforts made to determine that the

7

wells shown are accurately located on the map;

8

(ii)  affirming that the wells shown represent, to

9

the best of the operator's knowledge, all oil or gas

10

wells which have ever been drilled into or below the

11

storage stratum within the proposed storage reservoir or

12

within the reservoir protective area;

13

(iii)  stating whether the initial injection is for

14

testing purposes;

15

(iv)  stating the maximum pressure at which injection

16

and storage of gas is contemplated; and

17

(v)  providing a detailed explanation of the methods

18

to be used or which previously have been used in

19

drilling, cleaning out, reconditioning and plugging wells

20

in the storage reservoir or within the reservoir

21

protective area.

22

(6)  The map and data required to be filed under

23

paragraphs (5) and (5.1) shall be amended or supplemented

24

semiannually if material changes occur. The department may

25

require a storage operator to amend or supplement the map or

26

data at more frequent intervals if material changes have

27

occurred justifying the earlier filing.

28

(b)  Other reporting requirements.--A person who is injecting

29

gas into or storing gas in a storage reservoir not at the time

30

subject to subsection (a), by a process other than that of

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1

secondary recovery or gas recycling, shall, within 60 days, or a

2

longer period set by departmental regulations, file maps and

3

data required by departmental regulation and as follows:

4

(1)  A person who, after April 18, 1985, proposes to

5

inject or store gas in a storage reservoir in an area not

6

covered by subsection (a) by a process other than that of

7

secondary recovery or gas recycling shall file the required

8

map and data with the department not less than six months

9

prior to the starting of actual injection or storage.

10

(2)  The map shall be prepared by a competent engineer or

11

competent geologist and show:

12

(i)  the stratum in which the existing or proposed

13

storage reservoir is or is to be located;

14

(ii)  the geographic location of the outside

15

boundaries of the storage reservoir; and

16

(iii)  the location of all known oil or gas wells

17

within the reservoir, or within 3,000 linear feet

18

thereof, which have been drilled into or through the

19

storage stratum, indicating which have been or are to be

20

cleaned out and plugged or reconditioned for storage and

21

the proposed location of all additional wells which are

22

to be drilled within the storage reservoir or within

23

3,000 linear feet thereof.

24

(3)  The following, if available, shall be furnished for

25

all known oil or gas wells which have been drilled into or

26

through the storage stratum within the storage reservoir or

27

within 3,000 linear feet of the storage reservoir:

28

(i)  Name of the operator.

29

(ii)  Date drilled.

30

(iii)  Total depth.

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1

(iv)  Depth of production if the well was productive

2

of oil or gas.

3

(v)  Initial rock pressure and volume.

4

(vi)  A copy of the driller's log or other similar

5

information.

6

(3.1)  At the time of the filing of the maps and data, a

7

statement shall be filed:

8

(i)  detailing efforts made to determine that the

9

wells shown are accurately located on the map;

10

(ii)  affirming that the wells shown represent, to

11

the best of the operator's knowledge, all oil or gas

12

wells which have ever been drilled into or below the

13

storage stratum within the proposed storage reservoir;

14

(iii)  stating whether the initial injection is for

15

testing purposes;

16

(iv)  stating the maximum pressure at which injection

17

and storage of gas is contemplated; and

18

(v)  providing a detailed explanation of the methods

19

to be used or which previously have been used in

20

drilling, cleaning out, reconditioning and plugging wells

21

in the storage reservoir.

22

(4)  The map and data required to be filed under

23

paragraphs (3) and (3.1) shall be amended or supplemented

24

semiannually if material changes occur. The department may

25

require a storage operator to amend or supplement the map or

26

data at more frequent intervals if material changes have

27

occurred justifying the earlier filing.

28

(c)  Political subdivisions.--Storage operators shall give

29

notice to the department of the name of each political

30

subdivision and county in which the operator maintains and

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1

operates a gas storage reservoir.

2

(d)  Notice to affected persons.--At the time of the filing

3

of maps and data and the filing of amended or supplemental maps

4

or data required by this section, the person filing the

5

information shall give written notice of the filing to all

6

persons who may be affected under the provisions of this chapter

7

by the storage reservoir described in the maps or data. Notices

8

shall contain a description of the boundaries of the storage

9

reservoir. When a person operating a coal mine or owning an

10

interest in coal properties which are or may be affected by the

11

storage reservoir requests, in writing, a copy of any map or

12

data filed with the department, the copy shall be furnished by

13

the storage operator.

14

(e)  Outside boundaries.--For purposes of this chapter, the

15

outside boundaries of a storage reservoir shall be defined by

16

the location of those wells around the periphery of the storage

17

reservoir which had no gas production when drilled in the

18

storage stratum. The boundaries shall be originally fixed or

19

subsequently changed if, based on the number and nature of the

20

wells and the geological and production knowledge of the storage

21

stratum, its character, permeability, distribution and operating

22

experience, it is determined in a conference under section 3251

23

(relating to conferences) that modifications should be made.

24

(f)  Inapplicability of section.--The requirements of this

25

section shall not apply to the operator of an underground gas

26

storage reservoir so long as the reservoir is located more than

27

10,000 linear feet from an operating coal mine, except that the

28

storage operator shall give notice to the department of the name

29

of each political subdivision and county in which the operator

30

maintains and operates a gas storage reservoir. In political

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1

subdivisions and counties where both gas storage reservoirs and

2

coal mines are being operated, the department may request the

3

storage operator to furnish maps showing geographical locations

4

and outside boundaries of the storage reservoirs. The department

5

shall keep a record of the information and promptly notify the

6

coal operator and the storage operator when notified by them

7

that the coal mine and storage reservoir are within 10,000

8

linear feet of each other.

9

§ 3232.  Reporting requirements for coal mining operations.

10

(a)  General rule.--A person owning or operating a coal mine

11

shall file with the department a map prepared and sealed by a

12

competent individual licensed as a professional engineer or

13

professional land surveyor under the provisions of the act of

14

May 23, 1945 (P.L.913, No.367), known as the Engineer, Land

15

Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law, showing the outside

16

coal boundaries of the operating coal mine, the existing

17

workings and exhausted areas and the relationship of the

18

boundaries to identifiable surface properties and landmarks. A

19

person owning or operating an operating coal mine which has been

20

penetrated by a well shall furnish a mine map to the department

21

each year indicating the excavations for the preceding year and

22

the projections for the ensuing year. The map required by this

23

subsection shall be furnished to a person storing or

24

contemplating the storage of gas in the vicinity of operating

25

coal mines shall, upon written request, by the coal operator,

26

and the person and the department shall thereafter be informed

27

of any boundary changes at the time the changes occur. The

28

department shall keep a record of the information and promptly

29

notify the coal operator and storage operator when notified by

30

them that the coal mine and the storage reservoir are within

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1

10,000 linear feet of each other.

2

(b)  Mines near certain reservoirs.--A person owning or

3

operating any coal mine which is or which comes within 10,000

4

linear feet of a storage reservoir and where the coal seam being

5

operated extends over the storage reservoir or reservoir

6

protective area shall, within 45 days after receiving notice

7

from the storage operator of that fact, file with the department

8

and furnish to the person operating the storage reservoir a map

9

in the form required by subsection (a) showing, in addition to

10

the requirements of subsection (a), existing and projected

11

excavations and workings of the operating coal mine for the

12

ensuing 18-month period and the location of oil or gas wells of

13

which the coal operator has knowledge. The person owning or

14

operating the coal mine shall, each six months thereafter, file

15

with the department and furnish to the person operating the

16

storage reservoir a revised map showing any additional

17

excavations and workings, together with the projected

18

excavations and workings for the then ensuing 18-month period,

19

which may be within 10,000 linear feet of the storage reservoir.

20

The department may require a coal operator to file revised maps

21

at more frequent intervals if material changes have occurred

22

justifying earlier filing. The person owning or operating the

23

coal mine shall also file with the department and furnish the

24

person operating the reservoir prompt notice of any wells which

25

have been cut into, together with all available pertinent

26

information.

27

(c)  Mines near gas storage reservoirs.--A person owning or

28

operating a coal mine who has knowledge that it overlies or is

29

within 2,000 linear feet of a gas storage reservoir shall,

30

within 30 days, notify the department and the storage operator

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1

of that fact.

2

(d)  Mines projected to be near storage reservoirs.--When a

3

person owning or operating a coal mine expects that, within the

4

ensuing nine-month period, the coal mine will be extended to a

5

point which will be within 2,000 linear feet of any storage

6

reservoir, the person shall notify the department and storage

7

operator in writing of that fact.

8

(e)  New mines.--A person intending to establish or

9

reestablish an operating coal mine which will be over a storage

10

reservoir or within 2,000 linear feet of a storage reservoir or

11

may within nine months thereafter be expected to be within 2,000

12

linear feet of a storage reservoir shall immediately notify the

13

department and storage operator in writing. Notice shall include

14

the date on which the person intends to establish or reestablish

15

the operating coal mine.

16

(f)  Misdemeanor.--A person who serves notice as required by

17

this subsection of an intention to establish or reestablish an

18

operating coal mine, without intending in good faith to

19

establish or reestablish the mine, is liable for continuing

20

damages to a storage operator injured by the improper notice and

21

commits a misdemeanor subject to the penalties of section 3255

22

(relating to penalties).

23

§ 3233.  General gas storage reservoir operations.

24

(a)  General rule.--A person who operates or proposes to

25

operate a storage reservoir, except one filled by the secondary

26

recovery or gas recycling process, shall:

27

(1)  Use every known method which is reasonable under the

28

circumstances for discovering and locating all wells which

29

have or may have been drilled into or through the storage

30

reservoir.

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1

(2)  Plug or recondition, as provided in departmental

2

regulations, all known wells drilled into or through the

3

storage reservoir, except to the extent otherwise provided in

4

subsections (b) and (c).

5

(b)  Wells to be plugged.--To comply with subsection (a),

6

wells which are to be plugged shall be plugged in the manner

7

specified in section 3220 (relating to plugging requirements).

8

(b.1)  Wells plugged prior to enactment of section.--If a

9

well located in the storage reservoir area has been plugged

10

prior to April 18, 1985, and on the basis of data, information

11

and other evidence submitted to the department, it is determined

12

that the plugging was done in the manner required by section

13

3220 or approved as an alternative method under section 3221

14

(relating to alternative methods) and the plugging is still

15

sufficiently effective to meet the requirements of this chapter,

16

the obligations under subsection (a) with regard to plugging the

17

well shall be considered to have been fully satisfied.

18

(c)  Wells to be reconditioned.--The following shall apply:

19

(1)  To comply with subsection (a), wells which are to be

20

reconditioned shall, unless the department by regulation

21

specifies a different procedure, be cleaned out from the

22

surface through the storage horizon, and the producing casing

23

and casing strings determined not to be in good physical

24

condition shall be replaced with new casing, using the same

25

procedure as is applicable to drilling a new well under this

26

chapter. In the case of wells to be used for gas storage, the

27

annular space between each string of casing and the annular

28

space behind the largest diameter casing to the extent

29

possible shall be filled to the surface with cement or

30

bentonitic mud or a nonporous material approved by the

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1

department under section 3221. At least 15 days prior to

2

reconditioning, the storage operator shall give notice to the

3

department, setting forth in the notice the manner in which

4

it is planned to recondition the well and any pertinent data

5

known to the storage operator which will indicate the

6

condition of the well existing at that time. In addition, the

7

storage operator shall give the department at least 72 hours'

8

notice of the time when reconditioning is to begin. If no

9

objections are raised by the department within ten days, the

10

storage operator may proceed with reconditioning in

11

accordance with the plan as submitted. If objections are made

12

by the department, the department may fix a time and place

13

for a conference under section 3251 (relating to conferences)

14

at which the storage operator and department shall endeavor

15

to agree on a plan to satisfy the objections and meet the

16

requirements of this section. If no agreement is reached, the

17

department may, by an appropriate order, determine whether

18

the plan as submitted meets the requirements of this section

19

or what changes, if any, are required. If, in reconditioning

20

a well in accordance with the plan, physical conditions are

21

encountered which justify or necessitate a change in the

22

plan, the storage operator may request that the plan be

23

changed. If the request is denied, the department shall fix a

24

conference under section 3251 and proceed in the same manner

25

as with original objections. An application may be made in

26

the manner prescribed by section 3221 for approval of an

27

alternative method of reconditioning a well. If a well

28

located within the storage reservoir was reconditioned, or

29

drilled and equipped, prior to April 18, 1985, the

30

obligations imposed by subsection (a), as to reconditioning

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1

the well, shall be considered fully satisfied if, on the

2

basis of the data, information and other evidence submitted

3

to the department, it is determined that:

4

(i)  The conditioning or previous drilling and

5

equipping was done in the manner required in this

6

subsection, in regulations promulgated under this chapter

7

or in a manner approved as an alternative method in

8

accordance with section 3221.

9

(ii)  The reconditioning or previous drilling and

10

equipping is still sufficiently effective to meet the

11

requirements of this chapter.

12

(2)  If a well requires emergency repairs, this chapter

13

shall not be construed to require the storage operator to

14

give any notice required by this subsection before making the

15

repairs.

16

(d)  Exception.--The requirements of subsection (a) shall not

17

apply to injection of gas into a stratum when the sole purpose

18

of injection, referred to in this subsection as testing, is to

19

determine whether the stratum is suitable for storage purposes.

20

Testing shall be conducted only in compliance with the following

21

requirements:

22

(1)  The person testing or proposing to test shall comply

23

with section 3231 (relating to reporting requirements for gas

24

storage operations) and verify the statement required to be

25

filed by that section.

26

(2)  The storage operator shall give at least six months'

27

written notice to the department of the fact that injection

28

of gas for testing purposes is proposed.

29

(3)  If the department has objections, the department

30

shall fix a time and place for a conference under section

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1

3251, not more than ten days from the date of notice to the

2

storage operator, at which time the storage operator and

3

department shall attempt to resolve the issues presented. If

4

an agreement cannot be reached, the department may issue an

5

appropriate order.

6

(e)  Failure to execute lawful order.--In a proceeding under

7

this chapter, if the department determines that an operator of a

8

storage reservoir has failed to carry out a lawful order issued

9

under this chapter, the department may require the operator to

10

suspend operation of the reservoir and withdraw the gas until

11

the violation is remedied, in which case the storage operator,

12

limited by due diligence insofar as existing facilities utilized

13

to remove gas from the reservoir will permit, shall:

14

(1)  if possible, remove the amount required by the

15

department to be removed; or

16

(2)  in any event, remove the maximum amount which can be

17

withdrawn in accordance with recognized engineering and

18

operating procedures.

19

(f)  Duty of storage reservoir operator.--The following shall

20

apply:

21

(1)  A person owning or operating a storage reservoir

22

subject to this chapter shall have a duty to:

23

(i)  Maintain all wells drilled into or through the

24

reservoir in a condition, and operate them in a manner,

25

sufficient to prevent the escape of gas.

26

(ii)  Operate and maintain the reservoir and its

27

facilities as prescribed by departmental regulations and

28

at a pressure which will prevent gas from escaping, but

29

the pressure shall not exceed the highest rock pressure

30

found to have existed during the production history of

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1

the reservoir or another high pressure limit approved by

2

the department after holding a conference under section

3

3251 based on geological and production knowledge of the

4

reservoir, its character, permeability distribution and

5

operating experience.

6

(2)  The duty under paragraph (1) shall not be construed

7

to include inability to prevent the escape of gas when gas

8

escapes as a result of an act of God or a person not under

9

the control of the storage operator. In that instance, the

10

storage operator shall have a duty to take action reasonably

11

necessary to prevent further escape of gas. This paragraph

12

does not apply to a well which the storage operator failed to

13

locate and make known to the department.

14

§ 3234.  Gas storage reservoir operations in coal areas.

15

(a)  General rule.--A person operating a storage reservoir

16

which underlies or is within 2,000 linear feet of a coal mine

17

operating in a coal seam that extends over the storage reservoir

18

or the reservoir protective area shall:

19

(1)  Use every known reasonable method for discovering

20

and locating all wells which have or may have been drilled

21

into or through the storage stratum in the acreage lying

22

within the outside coal boundaries of the operating coal mine

23

overlying the storage reservoir or the reservoir protective

24

area.

25

(2)  Plug or recondition, as provided by section 3220

26

(relating to plugging requirements) and subsection (e), all

27

known wells, except to the extent provided in subsections

28

(e), (f), (g) and (h), drilled into or through the storage

29

stratum and located within the portion of the acreage of the

30

operating coal mine overlying the storage reservoir or the

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1

reservoir protective area. If an objection is raised as to

2

use of a well as a storage well and after a conference under

3

section 3251 (relating to conferences) it is determined by

4

the department, taking into account all circumstances and

5

conditions, that the well should not be used as a storage

6

well, the well shall be plugged unless, in the opinion of the

7

storage operator, the well may be used as a storage well in

8

the future, in which case, upon approval of the department

9

after taking into account all circumstances and conditions,

10

the storage operator may recondition and inactivate the well

11

rather than plug it.

12

(3)  The requirements of paragraph (2) shall be deemed to

13

have been fully complied with if, as the operating coal mine

14

is extended, all wells which from time to time come within

15

the acreage described in paragraph (2) are reconditioned or

16

plugged as provided in section 3220 and subsection (e) or (f)

17

so that, by the time the coal mine has reached a point within

18

2,000 linear feet of the wells, they will have been

19

reconditioned or plugged in accordance with section 3220 and

20

subsection (e) or (f).

21

(b)  Verified statement.--A person operating a storage

22

reservoir referred to in subsection (a) shall file with the

23

department and furnish a copy to the person operating the

24

affected operating coal mine a verified statement setting forth:

25

(1)  That the map and any supplemental maps required by

26

section 3231(a) (relating to reporting requirements for gas

27

storage operations) have been prepared and filed in

28

accordance with section 3231.

29

(2)  A detailed explanation of what the storage operator

30

has done to comply with the requirements of subsection (a)(1)

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1

and (2) and the results of those actions.

2

(3)  Such additional efforts, if any, as the storage

3

operator is making and intends to make to locate all wells.

4

(4)  Any additional wells that are to be plugged or

5

reconditioned to meet the requirements of subsection (a)(2).

6

(b.1)  Order of department.--If the statement required under

7

subsection (b) is not filed by the storage reservoir operator

8

within the time specified by this chapter or the regulations of

9

the department, the department may order the operator to file

10

the statement.

11

(c)  Procedure.--Within 120 days after receipt of a statement

12

required by this section, the department may direct that a

13

conference be held in accordance with section 3251 to determine

14

whether the requirements of section 3231 and subsection (a) have

15

been fully met. At the conference, if any person believes the

16

requirements have not been fully met, the parties shall attempt

17

to agree on additional actions to be taken and the time for

18

completion, subject to approval of the department. If an

19

agreement cannot be reached, the department shall make a

20

determination and, if the department determines any requirements

21

have not been met, the department shall issue an order

22

specifying in detail the extent to which the requirements have

23

not been met and the actions which the storage operator must

24

complete to meet the requirements. The order shall grant as much

25

time as is reasonably necessary to fully comply. If the storage

26

operator encounters conditions not known to exist at the time of

27

issuance of the order and which materially affect the validity

28

of the order or the ability of the storage operator to comply

29

with it, the storage operator may apply for a rehearing or

30

modification of the order.

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1

(d)  Notification.--If, in complying with subsection (a), a

2

storage operator, after filing the statement provided for in

3

subsection (b), plugs or reconditions a well, the storage

4

operator shall notify the department and the coal operator

5

affected, in writing, setting forth facts indicating the manner

6

in which the plugging or reconditioning was done. Upon receipt

7

of the notification, the coal operator or department may request

8

a conference under section 3251.

9

(e)  Plugging wells.--In order to meet the requirements of

10

subsection (a), wells which are to be plugged shall be plugged

11

in the manner specified in regulations promulgated under section

12

3211 (relating to well permits). When a well located within the

13

storage reservoir or the reservoir protective area has been

14

plugged prior to April 18, 1985, and, on the basis of the data

15

information and other evidence submitted to the department, it

16

is determined that the plugging was done in the manner required

17

by section 3220, or in a manner approved as an alternative

18

method in accordance with section 3221 (relating to alternative

19

methods), and the plugging is still sufficiently effective to

20

meet the requirements of this chapter, the requirements of

21

subsection (a) as to plugging the well shall be considered to

22

have been fully satisfied.

23

(f)  Reconditioned wells.--The following shall apply:

24

(1)  In order to comply with subsection (a), unless the

25

department by regulation specifies a different procedure,

26

wells which are to be reconditioned shall be cleaned out from

27

the surface through the storage horizon, and the following

28

casing strings shall be pulled and replaced with new casing,

29

using the procedure applicable to drilling a new well under

30

this chapter: 

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1

(i)  the producing casing;

2

(ii)  the largest diameter casing passing through the

3

lowest workable coal seam unless it extends at least 25

4

feet below the bottom of the coal seam and is determined

5

to be in good physical condition, but the storage

6

operator may, instead of replacing the largest diameter

7

casing, replace the next largest casing string if the

8

casing string extends at least 25 feet below the lowest

9

workable coal seam; and

10

(iii)  casing strings determined not to be in good

11

physical condition

12

(2)  In the case of a well to be used for gas storage,

13

the annular space between each string of casing and the

14

annular space behind the largest diameter casing, to the

15

extent possible, shall be filled to the surface with cement

16

or bentonitic mud or an equally nonporous material approved

17

by the department under section 3221.

18

(3)  At least 15 days before a well is to be

19

reconditioned, the storage operator shall give notice to the

20

department and the coal operator, lessee or owner, setting

21

forth the manner in which reconditioning is planned and

22

pertinent data known to the storage operator which will

23

indicate the current condition of the well, along with at

24

least 72 hours' notice of the date and time when

25

reconditioning will begin. The coal operator, lessee or owner

26

shall have the right to file, within ten days after receipt

27

of the notice, objections to the plan of reconditioning as

28

submitted by the storage operator. If no objections are filed

29

and none are raised by the department within ten days, the

30

storage operator may proceed with reconditioning in

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1

accordance with the plan as submitted. If an objection is

2

filed or made by the department, the department shall fix a

3

time and place for a conference under section 3251, at which

4

conference the storage operator and the person having

5

objections shall attempt to agree on a plan of reconditioning

6

that meets the requirements of this section. If no agreement

7

is reached, the department shall, by an appropriate order,

8

determine whether the plan as submitted meets the

9

requirements of this section or what changes should be made

10

to meet the requirements. If, in reconditioning the well in

11

accordance with the plan, physical conditions are encountered

12

which justify or necessitate a change in the plan, the

13

storage operator or coal operator may request that the plan

14

be changed. If the parties cannot agree on a change, the

15

department shall arrange for a conference to determine the

16

matter in the same manner as set forth in connection with

17

original objections to the plan.

18

(4)  Application may be made to the department in the

19

manner prescribed in section 3221 for approval of an

20

alternative method of reconditioning a well. When a well

21

located within the storage reservoir or the reservoir

22

protective area has been reconditioned or drilled and

23

equipped prior to April 18, 1985, and, on the basis of the

24

data, information and other evidence submitted to the

25

department, the obligations imposed by subsection (a) as to

26

reconditioning the well shall be considered to be fully

27

satisfied if it is determined that reconditioning or previous

28

drilling and equipping:

29

(i)  was done in the manner required in this

30

subsection, or in regulations promulgated hereunder, or

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1

in a manner approved as an alternative method in

2

accordance with section 3221; or

3

(ii)  is still sufficiently effective to meet the

4

requirements of this chapter.

5

(5)  If a well requires emergency repairs, this

6

subsection shall not be construed to require the storage

7

operator to give the notices specified herein before making

8

the repairs.

9

(g)  Producing wells.--If a well located within the reservoir

10

protective area is a producing well in a stratum below the

11

storage stratum, the obligations imposed by subsection (a) shall

12

not begin until the well ceases to be a producing well.

13

(h)  Certain other wells.--If a well within a storage

14

reservoir or reservoir protective area penetrates the storage

15

stratum but does not penetrate the coal seam being mined by an

16

operating coal mine, the department may, upon application of the

17

operator of the storage reservoir, exempt the well from the

18

requirements of this section. Either party affected may request

19

a conference under section 3251 with respect to exemption of a

20

well covered by this subsection.

21

(i)  Plugging limitation.--In fulfilling the requirements of

22

subsection (a)(2) with respect to a well within the reservoir

23

protective area, the storage operator shall not be required to

24

plug or recondition the well until the storage operator has

25

received from the coal operator written notice that the mine

26

workings will, within the period stated in the notice, be within

27

2,000 linear feet of the well. Upon the receipt of the notice,

28

the storage operator shall use due diligence to complete the

29

plugging or reconditioning of the well in accordance with the

30

requirements of this section and section 3220. If the mine

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1

workings do not, within a period of three years after the well

2

has been plugged, come within 2,000 linear feet of the well, the

3

coal operator shall reimburse the storage operator for the cost

4

of plugging, provided that the well is still within the

5

reservoir protective area as of that time.

6

(j)  Retreat mining.--If retreat