John Hanger is setting the bar very high for the other Democratic primary candidates on Marcellus Shale issues, with the most progressive and comprehensive natural gas policy I’ve seen yet.
We’re seeing a lot of enthusiasm for Hanger from online progressives, and I think this is one of the reasons why. As the former head of DEP, he can go toe to toe with the gas company lobbyists, where a less knowledgable or interested politician might get tricked.
Everything I wanted to see is on here short of maybe a sovereign wealth fund for Pennsylvania. This is the standard every other candidate should be judged against.
– Enact a reasonable severance tax on natural gas extraction similar to West Virginia’s;
– Increase gas drilling oversight staff by 50 percent;
– Raise the permit application fee and enact an annual fee for companies that operate
wells in the Marcellus shale;
-Ensure inspectors issue notices of violation without prior approval from Harrisburg;
– Ensure local governments may responsibly use zoning powers to site gas drilling within
– Ban the dumping of any gas well wastewater that is not fully treated into open
– Ban the dumping of any gas well wastewater that is not treated to Safe Drinking Water
Standards into rivers and streams – from both Marcellus shale and conventional wells;
– Continue the moratorium on leasing more state forestland for gas drilling;
– Enact a separate $3 million impact fee for gas wells drilled on state forestland or state
parks to discourage drilling on our public lands and impose strict environmental
restrictions to prevent gas drilling in state parks;
– Ban drilling in the Loyalsock State Forest where the Commonwealth controls the rights
to access mineral rights from the surface;
– Enact requirements for green completions during well completions;
– Insure that the best available technology is deployed on compressor engines to cut air
emissions by 90% or more; Require world class maintenance and inspection of gas drilling equipment to prevent
and identify methane leakage and gas leaks;
– Sharply limit flaring of natural gas at wells;
– Modernize and strengthen rules designed to prevent methane migration;
– Create a transparent, easy-to-use DEP website that discloses the chemicals used at gas
– Repeal the gag rule that prohibits physicians from sharing medical information about
patients who are exposed to gas drilling chemicals;
– Require gas drillers to pay twice the property value if they contaminate a landowner’s
private water well.