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Thursday, January 9, 2014

HANGER DEMANDS TOUGHER DRILLING REGS

HANGER DEMANDS TOUGHER DRILLING REGS
Says PA Has Lost Confidence In Corbett's Oversight of Gas Industry

West Chester, PA – Declaring that the people of Pennsylvania have lost confidence in the Corbett administration's oversight of the gas industry, Democratic candidate for Governor John Hanger to significantly increase zoning, regulation and taxation of the gas industry.

Testifying at a Department of Environmental Protection hearing on proposed revisions to oil and gas regulations Hanger, a former head of DEP under Governor Rendell, said that regulation, zoning and taxation must work together and reinforce each other, but the state is "not doing any of those things today."

Hanger, who has proposed a comprehensive 19-point program to bring world-class regulatory standards and mandatory best-practices to drilling activities when he is Governor (details can be found at http://tinyurl.com/lb6un94), that localities must be permitted to use zoning to keep industrial and residential uses separate and that "state regulation will not work unless Pennsylvania adopts the strongest rules in the country."

He included requiring best technology, keeping drillers out of sensitive areas lie state forests and parks, and banning bad actors, such as he did as DEP Secretary with Cabot Oil & Gas in Dimock.

He called for damages of two-times the property value where drilling mistakes contaminate water wells, and said the DEP enforcement staff should be increased by 105 positions, and leadership in Harrisburg that permits the staff to operate professionally and free of political interference.

"Strong regulation requires strong rules, enough regulatory staff to enforce them strongly and the leadership supporting strong regulation, even when the industry objects," said Hanger.

Additional recommendations in his testimony included:

-- stronger air emission rules to require technology that would cut by 90 percent;

-- extending to at least 2500 feet the minimum distance from a well site to public lands, now 200 feet, and a private water well, now 1000 feet;

-- prohibiting the use of drilling pits for wastewater storage, underground tanks for managing waste, burying or disposing of waste at the drill site.

As head of DEP, Hanger more than doubled the inspection force and insisted they enforce existing rules aggressively and free of interference. He also strengthened the rules for well construction, wastewater and other aspects of drilling operations wrote the moratorium on drilling on most state lands, and shut down bad actors and secured compensation for those who were victimized.

He has been endorsed for Governor by the families in Dimock, as well as Franklin Forks, where last month he helped ensure that households whose well water was contaminated would not lose their water supply tanks, as threatened by the drilling company WPX Energy.
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Democratic candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania John Hanger is widely regarded as one of the most thoughtful and best informed progressive public policy experts in the state. Formerly a public-interest lawyer advocating on behalf of poor families, John is nationally recognized as a leading authority on clean energy development and environmental protection. He served both Governors Casey and Rendell in key positions: first for Bob Casey as Commissioner of the Public Utilities Commission, where he successfully fought to cap electric rates to save Pennsylvania ratepayers millions; and for two years as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection in the Rendell Administration. Throughout his career in public service, John has embodied the essence of his campaign slogan "Policy first, politics second."

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