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Pickett Participates in Marcellus Pipeline Hearing

Says safety should be ultimate concern of drillers, companies and state 

Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) said today that safety must be the chief concern with respect to pipelines emanating from the Marcellus Shale formation. 

Pickett, co-chair of the House Republican Policy Committee’s Energy Task Force, made the comment at a public hearing Monday of the Policy Committee in Harrisburg. The hearing was part of a continuing series examining the various issues and impacts within the Marcellus Shale formation. 

“Pipelines are rapidly becoming the next stage of education in my area,” said Pickett. “At this point in time, there is much confusion about what agency – whether at the local, state or federal level – has jurisdiction over inspection and regulation of the pipelines from the wells to the larger lines that carry the natural gas to market or larger interstate pipelines.” 

Among the issues discussed was whether or not the Public Utility Commission (PUC) should be designated by state law to inspect and regulate the lines from the wells, also known as gathering lines. Of the 31 natural gas producing states, all but Pennsylvania has an agency designated with inspection and regulatory oversight and authority. The Public Utilities Commission is holding a series of en banc hearings to gather data and to examine PUC jurisdictional issues related to Marcellus Shale development. 

Regulatory jurisdiction for larger intrastate and interstate pipelines falls under the authority of the federal government. 

Presenting testimony Monday were Robert F. Powelson, commissioner of the Public Utilities Commission; Ted Wurfel, chairman, Marcellus Shale Coalition Pipeline Subcommittee; and Greg Brazaitis, vice president of Government and State Affairs, Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 

New lines must be constructed, agency and industry officials stated, as the current infrastructure cannot support the natural gas from the Marcellus Shale. All agreed that safety must be of utmost concern and that is why jurisdictional oversight is necessary in order to ensure current regulations are being enforced or to create additional regulations that may be necessary. 

“As the drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation evolves, we are being confronted by new challenges that need responsible and thoughtful solutions for both the short and long terms,” Pickett said. “I believe it is important that these hearings be held so that we can all be on the same page regarding the various issues we’re facing and to ensure the drilling and its long-term impacts are done in the safest, most responsible manner possible.” 

Rep. Tina Pickett
110th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(570) 265-3124
(717) 783-8238
Contact:  Jennifer Algoe Keaton
House Republican Public Relations
(717) 705-2094

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