Protecting Our Environment

Last week in Canonsburg, PA, 1,200 people attended an EPA public listening session on concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing during natural gas drilling. Since the U.S. Senate was in session and I was unable to attend the event, I asked a staff member from my Pittsburgh office to attend and read my statement on the EPA’s proposed study of hydraulic fracturing and potential impacts on drinking water.

Pennsylvania has a history of environmental hardships, most created in previous generations when federal regulations promoting responsible natural resource development did not exist.  For example, Pennsylvania has old natural gas wells that remain uncapped and leak methane into homes.  Pennsylvania has acid mine drainage that costs millions of dollars every year to remediate.  There are lessons contained within these examples from which we need to learn.

Last June, I introduced the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act, because I believe if the development of the Marcellus Shale is carried out in a manner that protects the environment and human health, then it will enhance our State’s economy and increase our Nation’s energy security. The FRAC Act requires public disclosure of the chemicals used in the fracturing process and requires that hydraulic fracturing be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act.  It is my hope that the FRAC act will keep the environment and the people of Pennsylvania safe, while fully developing the great opportunity that the Marcellus Shale has to offer.