Following today’s public hearing of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23), chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, issued the following statement:
“Earlier today, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee held a public hearing on House Bill 170, which would expand setback requirements for natural gas wells in Pennsylvania to between 2,500 – 5,000 feet.
“Make no mistake. House Bill 170 is a ban on natural gas development in Pennsylvania. It is horrible legislation from an environmental, economic and property rights perspective.
“This legislation threatens hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania jobs and deprives Pennsylvania landowners of their property rights. It compromises our national security, exponentially drives up the cost of energy for citizens, and weakens our state’s economy – from the hundreds of millions of tax dollars that natural gas development generates for local governments and conservation programs, to the businesses that rely on robust natural gas development for their survival, not to mention their reliable energy supply.
“Choking off the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania will have a devastating domino effect on the 13 states and the District of Columbia who depend on Pennsylvania generating 25% of the electric power in the PJM grid. Moreover, the hydrogen hub projects which have been the subject of numerous accolades by the Administration during the past two weeks, and the billions of dollars involved, are dead on arrival without a continuing natural gas industry. No energy company on the planet will consider doing business in Pennsylvania.
“Pennsylvania already has among the strictest setbacks for wells in the entire nation. We have been recognized as a standard for enacting strong yet reasonable environmental safeguards that protect our natural resources. These policies are the prerogative of the General Assembly – not unelected bureaucrats, nor one chamber of a legislature that is exhibiting hostility to Pennsylvania job creators.
“Let me be clear: I support the rights of my constituents to develop their property rights and to have access to affordable energy to care for their families and run their businesses. As chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, we have consistently advanced legislation that protects these interests and rights of our constituents. I remain committed to doing just that.
“It is often said that we cannot legislate against stupidity. That is true but we can stop stupid legislation from becoming law. Should House Bill 170 or any similar legislation pass the House of Representatives, it will not be considered in the Senate.”