Health, Safety and Environmental Concerns are Top Priorities

August 2, 2010 — State Sen. Larry Farnese got a firsthand look and discussed his environmental and health concerns with energy industry officials as part of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee tour of a Marcellus Shale and Atlas Energy gas drilling site near Smithfield in Fayette County.

Farnese said he took part in the tour to get a better understanding of the industry and its issues in advance of the legislature’s fall deliberations on a natural gas extraction tax.

“Policy Committee members, other senators and staff had a chance to observe firsthand how an actual Marcellus Shale drilling site operates,” Farnese said. “While I understand this new industry’s economic promise and the immense number of jobs that may be created, I remain committed to seeing that these operations do not harm our environment or compromise public health and safety.”

As part of the 2010-11 budget agreement, lawmakers are expected to meet this fall to establish a severance tax on drilling. Farnese said he hopes to make safety and environmental concerns part of the discussion.

“While the state can generate a significant amount of money through a severance tax, we need to ensure that there are strong regulations in place to make drillers accountable and establish strong environmental and health protections,” Farnese said.

During the tour, lawmakers viewed drilling and land/water reclamation processes. Joining Farnese for the tour were Senators Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), Richard Kasunic (D-Fayette), Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny) and John Wozniak (D-Cambria).

# # #

Tagged with: