Environmental Quality Board Moves Forward Petitions to Raise Bond Amounts for PA Oil and Gas Wells

Harrisburg, PA -- Today, the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board voted to move forward petitions filed by the Sierra Club, Clean Air Council, Earthworks, Mountain Watershed Association, PennFuture, and Protect Penn-Trafford that would work to adopt better bonding for conventional and unconventional wells in the Commonwealth by a 16 to 3 vote. This is a critical step in fixing the broken system of funding oil and gas well cleanup in the Commonwealth and protecting residents and taxpayers from the dangers of abandoned wells. 
In Pennsylvania, the required bond amounts for oil and gas wells — the money drilling companies have to provide before being allowed to drill a new well — are woefully inadequate to cover the costs of cleaning up the sites. These rulemaking petitions serve to ensure that the cost of cleanup falls on the companies doing the drilling and polluting in Pennsylvania rather than leaving taxpayers to foot the bill for cleanup. 
“We still have a long road ahead of us, but this is a critical first step to getting full-cost bond amounts that will ensure that polluters are accountable for cleaning up their wells,” said Sierra Club Senior Campaign Representative Kelsey Krepps. “Better bond amounts will reduce the costs put on landowners and taxpayers, and incentivize faster plugging of wells at the end of their lifespan, reducing the climate and health consequences that Pennsylvanians have been subjected to by companies that have been allowed to run amok for decades.” The EQB will publish a notice of acceptance of the petitions in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and the Department of Environmental Protection will then have 60 days to prepare a report evaluating the petition. The report will include a recommendation on whether the EQB should approve the actions requested in the petitions. 
About the Sierra Club: The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.
More From This Press Contact: Morgan Caplan