Pennsylvania State Senator Jay Costa (Democrat, Forest Hills) has proposed a bill which would place a $10 surcharge on permits issued by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for hydraulic fracturing activities in the Marcellus Shale.

This surcharge would be transferred to the bill-created Emergency Drinking Water Support Fund.

The fund would be “used for testing of well water” by a DEP approved testing laboratory and the purchasing of clean water for residents and businesses if needed. Residents and businesses who “have reason to believe their well water is contaminated from either an accidental spill of fracking water or chemicals, seepage of chemicals and fracking water or seepage of natural gas dislodged by the fracking process” can request that their water be tested.

If the test determines that the water contains chemicals or natural gas higher than DEP or EPA recommended levels and the DEP determines that the contamination probably resulted from Marcellus Shale drilling activity, then the DEP will purchase water for the affected household or business until a final determination of the source of the contamination is made and the responsible driller begins to provide water to the household or business.

The bill has been sent to the Senate’s Environmental Resources and Energy Committee for consideration.

A similar bill that had been introduced during the 2011-2012 legislative never came out of committee.
See a copy of the bill.

This article was prepared by Barclay Nicholson ( or 713 651 3662) from Fulbright’s Litigation Practice Group.