Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorney Says Drilling Companies Should Disclose Chemical Volumes Being Used in Marcellus Shale
New regulations will require companies to identify chemicals used in the fracking process. But disclosure of the chemical amounts would give the region’s residents better protection, says Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer J. Christopher Munley.
Scranton, PA (PRWEB) December 9, 2010
Pennsylvania personal injury attorney J. Christopher Munley applauds recently approved environmental regulations that will force drilling companies to disclose the types of chemicals they are using to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale. However, he says state regulators should have gone a step further.
“For the sake of protecting the health and safety of residents in the Marcellus Shale drilling area, it would be helpful to know how much of these chemicals are being used,” Munley says. “These new regulations fall short by failing to require companies to disclose this vital information to the public.”
Munley is the managing partner of Munley, Munley & Cartwright, P.C., a Scranton, Pennsylvania personal injury law firm that has been investigating the claims of property owners who say their land and water supplies have been damaged or contaminated by drilling rig operators and natural gas exploration companies.
The firm’s clients live above the Marcellus Shale, an underground rock formation that stretches from Ohio to New York and holds one of the largest reserves of natural gas in the country.
Much of this energy source is being extracted through wells created by hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a process that involves pumping millions of gallons of chemically treated water into the ground under high pressure to break up the shale, and which can lead to the contamination of water and groundwater wells. It can also pollute rivers, streams and aquifers that residents rely on for water supplies.
In response to concerns about the environmental impact of natural gas drilling, the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission on November 18 approved tougher regulations. The rules will improve protection of water supplies and strengthen the regulations on the drilling, casing, cementing, testing, monitoring and plugging of the oil and gas wells.
One new regulation will require drilling companies to submit electronic reports to state officials that includes the volumes and identities of chemicals used in each well. However, because the companies claim that it would reveal trade secrets, volumes of chemicals will be confidential.
“So, the public will be kept from knowing how many gallons of these toxic chemicals are being used in wells that are essentially in their backyard,” Munley says. “That’s a concern to me.”
Still, Munley says he was pleased to see the new rules will lower the maximum allowed well pressure and force companies to investigate and report when gas migrates out of well bores and into residential water wells.
“Overall, these changes in the regulations should help to improve the safety of people and businesses in the Marcellus Shale region,” Munley says.
The new regulations are expected to become final in January 2011.
About Munley, Munley & Cartwright, P.C.
Munley, Munley & Cartwright, P.C., is a Pennsylvania law firm that represents victims and consumers in personal injury litigation, including automobile accidents, trucking accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, toxic chemicals, workplace injuries, nursing home litigation and other serious accidents. The firm has more than 40 years experience in practicing personal injury law.
Munley, Munley & Cartwright, P.C., has offices throughout Pennsylvania, including Scranton, Stroudsburg, Carbondale, Plains, Hazleton and Hamlin. To contact the law firm, call 1 800-318-LAW1 or visit the firm’s website.