by Jon Geeting, Keystone Politics, 8/8/13
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 knowledgeable 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 their communities;
– Ban the dumping of any gas well wastewater that is not fully treated into open wastewater pits;
– 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….
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