The Pennsylvania Act 13 was a piece of legislation passed by the state of Pennsylvania that enacted stronger environmental standards, authorized local governments to adopt an impact fee and built upon the state's ongoing efforts to move towards energy independence as unconventional gas development continues. Among the Act's provisions are increased setback requirements for unconventional gas development; enhanced protection of water supplies; and strong, uniform, consistent statewide environmental standards. As a result of these provisions, the Department of Environmental Protection will continue to ensure the responsible development of this important resource.
This Impact fee that is stated in the Pennsylvania Act 13 is designed to protect the local environments at the same time it will further incentivize local governments to actively seek and attract hydraulic fracturing to their counties because they will receive this impact fee. A similar fee was put in place in Vermont’s May 2012 legislation that requires any person who intends to discharge into an injection well must submit an application and pay an application fee. The ability for the Vermont and Pennsylvania to be able to have such motions was fortified by the decision by the New York State Legislator that ruled local control of fracking is legal.
Fracking in Germany
Hydraulic Fracturing or Fracking as it is commonly called has become a polarizing subject in recent times. The debate of the environmental effects of fracking has been raging in the United States for some time now, but the debate not only effects America. In Germany Massive hydraulic fracturing of gas wells in tight sandstone began in 1975, and became common during the period 1978-1985, when more wells received massive hydraulic fracs in Germany than in any other European country. Germany also has the largest amount of hydraulic fracturing jobs in Europe. Because of the history that Germany has had with hydraulic fracturing it can be deduced that they will be one of the forerunners in the use of hydraulic fracturing to exploit shale gas deposits.
Germany wasn’t always a proponent of the use of hydraulic fracturing to utilize shale gas deposits that were previously unattainable but because of the rising energy prices of Germany they were forced to utilize this method of mining. The Federal Department of Economics declared the use of hydraulic fracturing drafted a policy that would allow hydraulic fracturing of shale gas deposits out of the fear that the consistently high energy costs were harming German industry, facing competitors for example from the U.S. where energy prices had shrunk to less than 25% of German energy costs. The solution to this problem for the Germans was hydraulic fracturing.
The initial step for the Germans legalizing the use of hydraulic fracturing in shale gas deposits did come without any regulation. For instance, the wetland areas of Germany are still prohibited from being mined on through the use of hydraulic fracturing. The legislation that allowed the initial use of hydraulic fracturing in Germany also outlawed its use in water protection areas and near drinking water wells. Also in this legislation the intent was relayed that there would be more environmental impact studies done before and new major projects would be Okayed.
In Germany, the exploitation of geographical areas for the purpose of prospecting, exploring for and producing oil and gas is governed by the Federal Mining Act of 1982. It sets the framework for petroleum development with the individual federal states. In practice, the states are responsible for overseeing oil and gas licensing and operations. This is similar to the United States’ policy in allowing state government to decide on the terms hydraulic fracturing must adhere to before being allowed to be conducted in their state. A key difference in the policy of Germany is that there state