Sestak: PA Should Take a Pause on Marcellus Shale Drilling

By Anne Holliday – 1490 NewsBlog

PA – Pennsylvania should take a pause in its Marcellus Shale drilling activity until it gets all its ducks in a row, according to Congressman Joe Sestak (currently running against Pat Toomey for US Senate).

Sestak believes more environmental safeguards have to be put into place, more Pennsylvanians should be trained to work on Marcellus Shale wells and the state should impose an excise tax on drilling companies.

“We want it to be jobs that are created for Pennsylvanians. We want it be environmentally sound so we don’t have higher costs for our children and grandchildren to pay. And, we want to make sure an excise tax is placed upon these oil companies so Pennsylvanians reap the bounty, or part of the bounty, from their ownership of the Marcellus Shale,” he told WESB and The HERO Friday afternoon.

“Let’s do this smart,” Sestak said. “Far too often government lets a crisis happen before they act.”

Sestak is a co-sponsor of the House version of the FRAC (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals) Act that he says will overturn the “Halliburton Loophole” which, in 2005, exempted hydraulic fracturing activities from the Clean Drinking Water Act. Currently, drilling companies don’t have to tell the Environmental Protection Agency what chemicals they’re using in fracking.

Until it’s fixed legislatively, he said, EPA and the state Department of Environmental Protection need to find other ways to regulate the drilling.

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