In addition to stringent standards governing natural gas operations, there are federal, state and local government regulations that address oil and gas drilling and environmental protection for Pennsylvanians.
These rules cover all aspects of the process, including well permitting, well materials and construction, air emissions, wildlife protection, safe disposition of used hydraulic fracturing fluids, water testing, chemical recordkeeping and reporting.
Commonwealth of Pennsvylvania
25 Pennsylvania Code - Oil & Gas Regulations
Pennsylvania Law - Oil and Gas
PA ACT 223 - Oil and Gas Act
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) oversees regulations governing oil and natural gas drilling in order to protect the environment and citizens of Pennsylvania. The DEP continually monitors and inspects drilling sites and follows-up on potential violations. The department has even doubled the number of oil and gas inspectors in the last year and opened offices in gas-drilling areas. Additionally, in an effort to create transparency, the department created awebsite to track all oil and gas well production information from conventional shallow wells and newer Marcellus Shale wells, as well as data on the waste each operation produces.
Safe Drinking Water Act
Questions have arisen regarding the regulation of hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The SDWA was enacted in 1974 to ensure that water supply systems serving the public met appropriate health standards, and was specifically designed to establish a federal-state partnership to "protect drinking water from contamination by the underground injection of waste," through the “Underground Injection Control (UIC)” program. UIC systems place, or “inject” waste fluids underground for storage or disposal. And since hydraulic fracturing fluids are not “waste”, but rather used to aid in oil and natural gas production, they were never included under the act. Therefore, the fracturing fluids were not “exempted” from the SDWA nor were they considered a “loophole” as some accounts convey.
To clarify the usage of hydraulic fracturing fluids, Congress included language in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 making it clear once and for all that underground injection fluids or propping agents were excluded from the SDWA.