Pa. lawmakers back standardized safety measures for well sites

    A plan to standardize safety procedures at natural gas wells in Pennsylvania is headed to Gov. Tom Corbett for his signature.

    The state Legislature Wednesday approved a bill to make well site operators develop emergency plans and share them with local and state officials.

    It would also require local agencies have latitude and longitude coordinates for well sites.

    Cory Angell, a spokesman for the state Emergency Management Agency, said it’s important to establish statewide standards.

    “The drilling’s occurring in locations in the state that are very rural. There aren’t street addresses, and so it’s very important to have those GPS coordinates,” Angell said. “That way, our first responders that are local to the area can get there and help save life and limb if necessary.”

    A spokesman for Range Resources, which the state says has drilled more producing wells in Pennsylvania than any other company, said the company already observes the safety rules.

    Matt Pitzarella, a spokesman for Range Resources, said making standard safety rules is crucial because drilling sites don’t come with street addresses and are not always easy to find on a map.

    “If you had, for instance, an employee or a worker who is injured on a location, you’re going to need to be able to get a lifeline helicopter there very quickly,” he said. “And you’re gonna need to have all that planned out in advance.”

    The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Pike, said she expects the governor will sign the bill into law.

    The rules would then go into effect immediately.

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