PA Attorney General and Republican nominee for Governor Tom Corbett released this statement today.
While the Marcellus Shale offers great economic and energy independence opportunities for Pennsylvania, I believe that it must be developed responsibly and with strong environmental stewardship. We must make every effort to protect Pennsylvania's waterways and lands.
That is why today I am calling on the Marcellus Shale industry and the Department of Environmental Protection to work together to develop and institute high industry standards pertaining to environmental and public safety issues and also to address critical workforce development needs around the natural gas industry. It is time for collaboration in Harrisburg, to build consensus and to move toward the development of legislation to enact into statute industry standards that allow for the responsible development of our natural gas resources while protecting our water, land and the citizens of Pennsylvania.
I believe that the industry and DEP should agree on the following:
•Determine the best practices and highest standards in drilling to ensure clean water and safety for all Pennsylvanians and agree to implement them while public debate continues. This voluntary agreement is an interim step and should be followed by legislative action to codify how Pennsylvania will permit the development of cleaner energy in a safe manner.
•Meet the demand for trained workers in the energy industry. I call on the industry, the state and our higher education institutions, career and technical schools, and workforce development programs, to immediately begin the development and implementation of training programs to fill these new jobs for Pennsylvanians. It is also critical for the Department of Community and Economic Development to identify Pennsylvania manufacturers and businesses that will be the ongoing suppliers to this growing industry.
•Ensure that the industry works with all levels of government to further support the training and education of Pennsylvania first responders to make certain they are prepared to deal with emergencies involving drilling in the Marcellus Shale region.
While there are a few who have called for a moratorium on drilling, I believe that we can achieve strong environmental stewardship of our waterways and lands without putting hardworking Pennsylvanians out of work and sending thousands of jobs to other states. We can bring the industry together with DEP and state regulators to develop high industry standards and ensure world class operations in Pennsylvania. We can work to ensure greater protection of our water wells. We can put into place safeguards for our state forests and streams. And, we can demand the highest standard of technology for use on drilling sites.
Earlier this year I released my plan to harness Pennsylvania's energy potential in an environmentally sound manner in an effort to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and make energy affordable for all Pennsylvanians. Pennsylvania is home to the second largest energy field in the world with our abundant coal, gas, oil and timber and our alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, nuclear, biomass, geothermal and hydroelectric facilities. We have an energy infrastructure that not only needs to be maintained, but also enhanced to ensure safe and reliable energy supplies for Pennsylvania residents and neighboring states. And, equally as important, Pennsylvania's energy resources are a critical component to revitalizing our economy, growing job opportunities and positioning the commonwealth in the global marketplace.
Among the many components of my plan, I have called for the creation of an Energy Executive in the Governor's Office who will be charged with coordinating the overall state energy policy, utilizing expertise within the relevant state agencies and ensuring interagency coordination of our energy resources. I specifically have called for the creation of a Marcellus shale work group to advise me on pertinent issues; a scientific advisory board within the Department of Environmental Protection to ensure water quality and environmental standards; instituting coordinated permitting across state agencies; and directing DEP to get "back to basics" so that the agency can focus on its core mission of protecting our land, air and water.
I hope that the Governor will recognize the importance of the Marcellus Shale industry and will act accordingly to grow Pennsylvania's global energy leadership with environmental stewardship - doing what is in the best interest of Pennsylvania.
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