Lawmakers have gotten one step closer to setting standards for Marcellus Shale drilling and aim to give state leaders the authority to regulate fracking in Pennsylvania, The Morning Call reports.
As the newspaper notes, the most important aspect of the bill – which takes on many of Governor Tom Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Committee’s suggestions – is that the rules for drilling would be the same statewide, rather than being dictated by local zoning laws.
The president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, Kathryn Klaber, said if the bill was passed, it would be simpler for gas companies to apply for permission to drill.
“The establishment of a predictable framework of heightened health, safety, and environmental protections will benefit all Pennsylvanians, particularly those residing in nearly half of the Commonwealth’s communities in the Marcellus fairway without formal zoning rules,” she said, as quoted by The Morning Call.
Nationally, other politicians are also calling for fracking regulations to be the responsibility of individual state governments. As Representative Bob Latta – the Republican from Ohio – wrote for Politico, the “one-size-fits-all approach” that laws made in Washington, D.C. typically take would not really work when it comes to issues that must be more in tune with a specific region’s characteristics and needs. He points to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing as a topic with which federal lawmakers would not have the same familiarity as the local regulators would, especially when it comes to a state’s natural resources.
Latta says that state officials are “better suited to regulate local energy producers than distant federal bureaucrats,” because they know all the details about geography, production characteristics and other factors that contribute to fracking’s impact on the surrounding environment.
“Our forefathers meant for states to be laboratories for experimentation with the right governance,” he adds. “Regulation of hydraulic fracturing is the perfect example of a process better left to state governments, which have the best, firsthand knowledge of how to deal with their specific circumstances.”