Reading Through The Shale Commission's Draft Recommendations

  • Scott Detrow

The Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission’s refusal to release the wording of its proposed recommendations during its July 15 meeting has been well-documented.
At the end of the session, Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley tried to ease transparency concerns by offering to release all the draft recommendations, once the final report was public on July 22.
The Times-Tribune’s Robert Swift dug through the drafts – which are posted on DEP’s website – and filed this report:

The draft recommendations offer a window into the workings of the commission with a brief summary and the name of the member who submitted it. The commission voted at its final meeting to make even those recommendations that weren’t adopted public at the request of Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, the chairman.
One draft called for creating a county-level natural gas environmental protection program so county officials can get state planning grants, review gas well permit applications and hire county host inspectors for Marcellus wells. This was offered by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Nature Conservancy, which have members on the commission.
The final recommendation calls for providing planning tools and notice of well permit applications to counties with an opportunity to comment and allowing county conservation districts to inspect erosion and sedimentation controls at well sites.
Another draft urged the state Department of Environmental Protection to be extremely vigilant that solid waste generated through the frackwater treatment process is disposed of properly, given the presence of radioactive material that occurs naturally. This was offered by Lycoming County Commissioner Jeff Wheeland.
The final recommendation says that reports about gas well stimulation and completion include any logs about whether radioactive materials were present.

A reminder: you can read StateImpact’s annotated version of the commission’s final report here.

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