Marcellus drilling spurs calls for higher bonds

From the Scranton Times-Tribune:

To avoid future pollution cleanup problems, a bipartisan consensus is emerging that Pennsylvania needs to significantly increase the bond amounts drillers post to cover the cost of plugging or closing natural gas wells.

Policymakers have yet to decide on a specific course of action.

The current bond requirements date to 1984, when the state tightened oil and gas laws in response to a short-lived drilling boom for shallow gas deposits in northwestern Pennsylvania. At that time, the technology wasn't available to reach the deep gas pockets of what is now called the Marcellus Shale formation underlying Northeast Pennsylvania and other regions.

Drillers are required to post a $2,500 bond for a single well and $25,000 blanket bond to cover any number of wells. The bonds are regarded as a financial incentive to ensure a driller will act responsibly and address any problems.

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