A University of Buffalo study approves of Pennsylvania’s natural gas drilling regulations.
ALBANY, N.Y. — A study released Tuesday by the University at Buffalo’s new shale gas institute concludes that state oversight of gas drilling has been effective at reducing environmental problems in Pennsylvania and will prevent major problems in New York if the state allows drilling to begin.
The university-funded report examined almost 3,000 violations from nearly 4,000 gas wells in Pennsylvania since 2008. It found that 62 percent of the violations were administrative and 38 percent were environmental. The environmental violations stemmed from 845 events — 25 of them classified as “major,” defined as site restoration failures, serious contamination of water supplies, major land spills, blowouts, and venting and gas migration.
The authors found that even as the overall number of violations increased as more wells were drilled, the percentage of environmental violations compared to the number of wells drilled fell from 58.2 percent in 2008 to 30.5 percent in 2010.