HARRISBURG – A bill to maximize wellsite safety and improve community protections passed the state Senate today. The changes will reduce the risk for workers, first responders and the community when things go wrong at drilling sites, according to Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20), who sponsored the measure.
“At its heart, this bill requires well operators to meet the most basic rules of public safety,” Baker said. “Plan ahead. Tell us where your wells are. Give us clear directions to each site. Call at the first sign of trouble.”
Baker’s legislation requires gas well operators to post signs bearing their GPS coordinates and other emergency response information at all wellsites and to share those coordinates with appropriate state, county and local officials. Emergency response plans must also be developed and shared with state, county and local officials.
Currently, firefighters, ambulance crews, and haz-mat teams may not be told where wells are being planned, or where the access roads to those sites begin. Baker’s measure requires that notification be triggered in the earliest stages of planning, rather than after waste is discharged or chemicals are brought on-site.
“This bill ensures the development of a complete emergency plan, covering every stage from road clearing and well-pad preparation through well closure,” Baker added.