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Marcellus Shale Well Safety Bill Headed to Governor’s Desk

SB 995, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Bradford) would require operators of new and existing oil and gas wells to provide GPS information to counties and emergency responders and develop response plans for accidents and spills. The bill was approved on final passage in the Senate this week and is headed to the Governor’s desk.

“Senate Bill 995 fills a gaping information hole,” said Baker. “When something goes wrong, having emergency information posted at the site, and a plan that is shared with key emergency personnel, are vital parts of a risk reduction plan.”

The bill specifies that operators are to post signs at the well site bearing their GPS coordinates so firefighters, ambulance crews and hazmat teams know where wells and access roads are located and also to register those coordinates with county and state officials.

The Department of Environmental Protection is directed to write regulations on an emergency basis to implement the bill, avoiding the state’s normal Independent Regulatory Review Commission processes that often take years for final approval.