The news story “Corbett defends new drilling law” (July 11 and TribLIVE.com) contains serious accusations against Gov. Corbett's support of Senate Bill 259 but omits one critical element: actual facts about the bill.
To be clear, nothing in the new law compels a landowner to permit oil or gas development, or alters the terms of an existing lease. In fact, doing so would be unconstitutional, as Corbett noted in a recent letter to the General Assembly.
Rather, the bill clarifies that existing leases — for people who already have consented to oil and gas development — may be developed more efficiently through the use of horizontal drilling. This leads to fewer well pads, fewer stream crossings, less forest fragmentation and less earth disturbance.
It is unfathomable that a self-proclaimed environmental group like PennFuture would oppose such a measure.
The story also fails to mention that SB 259 passed with overwhelming, bipartisan support — including 48-2 in the Senate — after lawmakers debated and ultimately dismissed these same claims.
SB 259 also contains significant new provisions requiring drillers to disclose information to landowners regarding their royalty payments. These much-needed provisions will help ensure that royalty owners receive the payments they are due.
The writer is Gov. Tom Corbett's energy executive.
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