Natural Gas Drilling Regulations Approved By Pa House Committee

07.02.09 | Terry Diener

Two measures to protect water supplies from contamination by drilling for natural gas deposits in the Marcellus Shale formation were approved Wednesday by a House committee. The action by the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is a first step in addressing one of the major environmental issues that have surfaced.

Drilling firms have employed new technology such as hydraulic fracking to reach the deep gas pockets in the Marcellus Shale underlying much of Northeast and Northcentral Pennsylvania. Some have been concerned about the chemicals used during fracking, as well as what to do with the wastewater left over.

These bills still face lengthy debate with floor votes in the House and approval by the Senate before they would become law. They seek to update provisions of a state law enacted in 1984 in response to an earlier natural gas drilling boom in Northwest Pennsylvania.