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Marcellus shale gas-drilling site along PA Route 87, Lycoming County. (Image: Nicholas A. Tonelli via Flickr)

Pennsylvania regulators approve new gas, oil industry rules

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania government commission is giving its divided approval to regulations toughening oil and gas industry permit requirements.

The agency that reviews regulatory changes voted 3-to-2 Thursday in favor of the new regulations, StateImpactPennsylvania reported. The three Democratic appointees voted “yes.”

Drillers will now have to identify schools or playgrounds near wells, and if water supplies are damaged drillers will have to fix them or replace them with alternatives that meet federal standards. Natural gas drillers won’t be able to store waste in pits, or use brine to keep down dust or to de-ice.

Industy officials say the changes will add costs and could threaten businesses.

Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley says the fears are exaggerated. Environmental advocacy groups supported the proposed rules, although many say they’re not strong enough.

Related: Wolf vetoes fiscal code bill related to Pennsylvania budget

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