(HARRISBURG) – Calling a Senate Democrat legislative wish list – based on last year’s Statewide Investigating Grand Jury Report on fracking in Pennsylvania – an effort to “peddle misinformation,” PA state Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23), chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, issued the following statement:
“Governor Wolf’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said it best: The 43rd Statewide Investigating Grand Jury Report announced last year is ‘factually and legally inaccurate,’ and a ‘disservice to the citizens’ of Pennsylvania.
“Today’s performance for the media is part of the ongoing effort to peddle misinformation and ignore the high standards used in the Commonwealth to regulate natural gas development.
“Pennsylvania’s standards are among the most protective in the nation. Act 13 of 2012 raised over 40 environmental standards including appropriate handling of waste and protecting water resources. Pennsylvania’s Impact Tax has provided over $100 million to DEP and county conservation districts to enforce our environmental standards.
“To protect communities, we have enacted new pipeline safety standards and emergency response requirements all while guiding billions of dollars in investment to Pennsylvania, providing countless jobs for local residents, ensuring significant energy savings for consumers and improving air quality for all.
“Pennsylvania is the second largest producer of natural gas in the United States and one of largest producers in the world. And yet, the Wolf administration has paid lip service at best to the importance of this multi-billion-dollar industry to the Commonwealth. From day one, the administration has attempted to degrade these employers, who do not rely on government handouts, with a severance tax. This administration has done everything in its power to regulate and restrict the industry into oblivion. In 2019, 700 wells were drilled in Pennsylvania. At the same time, there were 19,485 inspections of the industry. What other employer in Pennsylvania has regulators on its doorstep that many times in a year?
“As the industry continues to survive on the world stage, the response is to use the grand jury process to rehash claims, that have been repudiated years ago. Many of these claims were actually rejected in Pennsylvania court cases. Talk about ‘black sludge water’ went out the window with Yoko Ono’s aborted bus trip on the ice in 2009.
“It is absolutely embarrassing for a state, which is a world leader in regulation and safety to have such a short sighted and myopic view of an industry of such international importance. Their sentiment – ‘Let’s drive these people out of the state, now. We don’t want them.’ ”