Senator Yudichak and Senator Baker to Host Roundtable on Lead Exposure and Lead Testing

Senator Yudichak and Senator Baker to Host Roundtable on Lead Exposure and Lead Testing

Senator John Yudichak and Senator Lisa Baker will host a roundtable on lead exposure and lead testing. The event will be held on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 11 a.m. at King’s College.

The roundtable will feature comments and discussion on lead exposure and testing from individuals with experience in regional youth and health services.

Participants will include members of the Senate Lead Task Force, Luzerne County Head Start, Maternal and Family Health Services, Early Intervention Services for Luzerne and Wyoming Counties, and St. Luke’s Hospital – Miners Campus.

Because classes are in session, visitors are asked to use metered on-street parking or the public parking garage at 30 North Main Street.  We look forward to seeing you there!  Flier about Program.

Sen. Baker Introduces Measures To Protect Drinking Water From Gas Drilling

Sen. Baker Introduces Measures To Protect Drinking Water From Gas Drilling

Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) this week introduced two bills to provide additional protection to drinking water from the impacts from Marcellus Shale natural gas well drilling.

Senate Bill 1451 (Baker-R-Luzerne) would require gas well wastewater treatment facility operators to be certified by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Senate Bill 1452 (Baker-R-Luzerne) would require each oil and gas well permit to be accompanied by information regarding the zone of influence of the well site on groundwater and an analysis of the time a potential release of drilling fluids would reach the nearest waterways; a preparedness, prevention and contingency plan; and a plan for notifying all downstream water users in the event of a spill.

The bill requires the notification of all public drinking water system operators within the water within 10 days of receiving a permit; a requirement that wells not be drilled within 1,000 feet of a building or water well without the consent of the owner; not within 1,000 feet of any stream, spring or body of water; or 1,000 feet of any wetlands or within 3,000 feet of a drinking water reservoir.  The permit application must also contain a groundwater monitoring and sampling plan before, during and after drilling.

“As more drilling takes place in our region, it increases the chances of something going wrong.  Prevention and protection are preferable to crisis management and emergency response.  Individuals and groups are taking a hard look at state laws and regulations, finding restrictions that seem too slight in contrast to the consequences of human error or technological failure, and offering constructive suggestions on steps that should be taken,” Sen. Baker said.

“While there are proposed water protection regulations moving through the process, people understand that law has more force.  As  drilling proceeds on a larger scale, area residents want answers that show responsibility being assured, rather than risks being assumed,” she emphasized.

“The economic benefits of gas extraction will be realized statewide, while the environmental drawbacks will be experienced locally.  We have to be properly prepared and protected.  Reasonable environmental protections will not discourage the development of this industry; they will help to make sure that unreasonable costs are not imposed on local communities and homeowners,” Sen. Baker stated.

Sen. Baker said that some of the costs would be borne by the gas companies.  Oversight costs could be paid for through a severance tax, which is expected to be debated in the coming weeks.  She reiterated her opposition to any severance tax plan that would devote the revenue generated to filling a hole in the state budget, rather than providing for community protection in drilling areas.

“The environmental and economic catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico underscores the crucial nature of taking all reasonable precautions and for being prepared for dealing with extreme situations when things go horribly wrong,” Sen. Baker concluded.