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Boback to Introduce Legislation to Protect Public Drinking Water from Natural Gas Drilling

Rep. Karen Boback (R-Columbia/Luzerne/Wyoming) announced her intent to introduce legislation that will provide additional protections for public drinking water supplies, as the natural gas drilling industry continues to grow in Pennsylvania. 

“Natural gas drilling has the potential to be the most promising economic boon for our Commonwealth, but we have to proceed with caution and make sure we are putting the health and safety of our citizens first,” said Boback.  “I am introducing this legislation to put additional safeguards in place for the drinking water sources we all share and on which we rely.  As we have seen from the catastrophe in the Gulf, once an accident occurs, it is difficult to restore our natural resources.  I believe the best approach is to proceed with caution.” 

Boback’s legislation would require companies seeking drilling permits in close proximity to public drinking water sources to provide the following information to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP): 

  • Names of all surface landowners with water supplies within a mile of a proposed well – said landowners will also be notified of proposed drilling.
  • An emergency contingency plan.
  • An analysis of the travel time of a release to the nearest waterway.
  • The zone of influence on groundwater. 

In addition, it would require DEP to notify all public water drinking operators within the watershed that a well permit has been submitted and to publish a notice in the PA Bulletin if it believes a proposed well site will have the potential to affect a public water supply.  Finally, it would include a prohibition on horizontal drilling beneath any public drinking water source and would increase the buffer between any drill site and public drinking water sources. 

“If an accident were to occur that would taint public water supplies, it would have a devastating effect on the lives and health of area residents and on the community itself,” said Boback.  “My legislation is another precaution to protect those I serve.” 

Boback noted that this legislation will be part of a package of bills aimed at increasing the safety of Pennsylvania’s waterways. 

Rep. Karen Boback
117th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(570) 477-3752
(717) 787-1117
Contact:  Nicole Wamsley
(717) 783-8063
Member Site:
Caucus Site:

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