Bartolotta Introduces Bill to Reduce Use of Fresh Water in Natural Gas Drilling

HARRISBURG – Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46) introduced legislation today that would help reduce the use of fresh water in natural gas drilling operations by promoting the use of treated mine water.

In recent years, drilling companies have significantly reduced their reliance on water from Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams by adopting the environmentally responsible practice of treating and reusing mine water for their operations. However, uncertainties regarding liability issues have prevented some companies from utilizing this innovative approach.

Bartolotta’s bill would help remove this uncertainty and promote the beneficial use of treated mine water in oil and gas operations by clarifying liabilities associated with this water source.

“Since both of these industries require the use of millions of gallons of water, using treated mine water in the natural gas drilling process holds the potential to substantially reduce the withdrawal demand placed upon Pennsylvania’s waterways,” Bartolotta said. “Questions regarding legal liability are the most serious barrier preventing more companies from utilizing this innovative process. My legislation would help clear up any confusion relating to liability.”

Bartolotta emphasized that her legislation would not weaken environmental safeguards designed to protect public health.

“Existing water treatment standards ensure this water source is safe to use in the natural gas drilling process,” Bartolotta said. “Nothing in the bill would undermine existing laws pertaining to water quality and treatment for mine operators or gas and oil companies. It only clarifies the parties who would be financially responsible for failure to comply with the law.”

# # #

CONTACT: Colleen Greer (717) 787-1463