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Ohio Utica Shale

Pennsylvania drillers to honor stream, wetland buffers

By Bob Downing Published: January 13, 2014

Pennsylvania's oil and gas drillers have agreed to a request from Gov. Tom Corbett that they comply with buffer zones intended to protect waterways and wetlands even though the state Supreme Court struck down those environmental rules last month.

The voluntary agreement will keep deep-shale drilling pads and conventional oil and gas wellbores at least 100 feet from those environmentally sensitive areas. The buffer zones were included in oil and gas reforms, known as Act 13, that were passed in 2012.

The court's “action, which could imperil our water quality, is simply unacceptable,” Corbett said in the announcement. “I am calling upon Pennsylvania's oil and gas operators to honor both the spirit and intent of these setback provisions to continue helping us protect Pennsylvania's water and natural resources.”

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