Source : The Times Leader
SCRANTON – U.S. Sen. Robert Casey returned to his hometown Thursday to extol the economic benefits of a present-day “gas rush” and, recalling the devastating effects of coal mining on the environment, called for more safeguards and federal oversight of natural gas drilling to prevent a “repeat of the mistakes of the past.”
The Democrat from Scranton joined five other panelists at a forum convened at Marywood University to discuss the opportunities and challenges presented by development of the Marcellus Shale.
Noting that nearly 600,000 Pennsylvanians are unemployed and 70 percent of the workers employed at Marcellus Shale drilling sites are not state residents, Casey said his Marcellus Shale On-the-Job Training Act would fund training programs to help ensure gas drilling jobs go to Pennsylvanians instead of out-of-state workers.
Recalling a well blowout in Clearfield County in June, Casey said a proper emergency response plan was not in place. His Faster Action Safety Team Emergency Response Act would authorize additional regulations to enhance response procedures as gas and oil wells, he said.
His Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, Casey said, would repeal some exemptions for the oil and gas industry and require disclosure of all chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing – the process of injecting millions of gallons of water with sand and chemicals added into a well bore to stimulate the release of natural gas.