FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Erin Mooney, National Press Secretary: (571) 331-7970
Trout Unlimited Calls on Gov. corbett to Tighten Marcellus Shale Environmental Standards and Dedicate Portion of Fee Revenue to Conservation
"Gov. Corbett's Marcellus Shale plan announced yesterday is a step in the right direction towards improving existing environmental standards related to Marcellus Shale development, but these measures, including the allocation of funding from an impact fee, must be greatly strengthened to adequately protect Pennsylvania's natural resources," said Katy Dunlap, Trout Unlimited's (TU) Eastern Water Project Director.
Echoing the state's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission recommendation, Gov. Corbett called for extending the distance between a gas well and surface water from 100 feet to 300 feet. While an improvement, the 300-foot distance must be measured from the edge of the well pad - as opposed to the well bore - to provide a reasonable buffer between drilling activities and water resources. The Governor's plan did not make this distinction. Additionally, for high quality, exceptional value streams and other important trout waters, TU calls for even greater setbacks from well pads - to be determined on a site-specific basis - to assure that coldwater resources are protected from possible pollution incidents.
"Gov. Corbett's proposed impact fee shows that environmental protection is not a priority for his administration," Dunlap said. "While Pennsylvania communities should receive compensation for damage and stress to local road and municipal systems due to Marcellus Shale drilling activities, some portion of the revenue generated from an impact fee must be used to mitigate the impacts on the state's natural resources as well," Dunlap continued.
Corbett's proposed impact fee ignores the environmental impacts caused by Marcellus Shale development, both the (1) short-term impacts that can be addressed by the agencies inspecting and enforcing Marcellus-related incidents; and (2) long-term impacts that can be addressed by conservation and restoration funding programs.
TU and its Pennsylvania Council strongly urges the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the Corbett administration to ensure that a percentage of any impact fee be directed toward conservation funding programs such as Pennsylvania's Growing Greener Fund and conservation agencies that have taken on additional inspection and enforcement duties to Marcellus development, such as the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.
Trout Unlimited is the nation's largest coldwater conservation organization, with 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North America's trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds