Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell says an overall ban on new Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling isn’t necessary. Rendell made the comments in response to the Marcellus Shale gas well blowout Thursday night in Clearfield County. Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has launched an investigation into the incident at the Lawrence Township well that shot natural gas 75 feet into the air for 16 hours.
DEP Secretary John Hanger says the investigation will look into the well’s entire history. EOG is barred from drilling or fracking at its more than 70 Pennsylvania wells until the investigation is complete. But the governor says drilling by others can continue....
“Given the degree of monitoring that we have and the checks and balances we have, we can go on and do this,” says Rendell. “Even for EOG, we’re not stopping them from extracting gas. We’re stopping them from any new drilling. They’ve got plenty of wells that are working right now, extracting gas.”
Rendell says current regulations have prevented major disasters for decades of oil and gas drilling, but he says they should be strengthened to minimize the potential for accidents.
He says two sets of bills that would make regulations stricter will soon be voted on by the state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission. One of those packages would control the disposal of wastewater. The other would try to increase safety in well construction.