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Sen. Kasunic’s Mine Water Reuse Bill Approved By Senate Committee

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 411 (Kasunic-D-Somerset) that would encourage the use of mine water for Marcellus shale well development and industrial use.

“This innovative approach to the treatment and use of acid mine water is both cost effective and environmentally responsible,” said Sen. Richard Kasunic. “I am pleased with the committee’s bipartisan support and look forward to getting this bill to the full senate for a vote as quickly as possible.”

The measure provides essential liability protections for the development of treatment systems for acid mine water utilized for oil and gas well development under the already existing Environmental Good Samaritan Act. Kasunic called acid mine drainage is Pennsylvania’s “single greatest source of water pollution, responsible for approximately 2,500 miles of degraded waterways.

“These waterways become acidic and laden with dissolved metals that make them uninhabitable for fish and other aquatic life — and unsuitable for human consumption,” said Sen. Kasunic.

Citing the steep costs of treating and cleaning up acid mine water, Sen. Kasunic said it is important for policy makers to seek additional uses for this tainted water – while keeping it out of Pennsylvania waterways.

He added that the state’s oil and gas industry, which uses millions of gallons of water for hydraulic fracturing, offers a new and innovative way to use treated mine water – while keeping it from flowing into waterways.

“The bill is a win-win proposition,” Sen. Kasunic said. “It encourages the use of mine water in drilling rather than the continued heavy use of municipal and fresh water sources.”

The Dunbar lawmaker added that the provisions in his legislation were policy recommendations stated in a 2011 report issued by the governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission.

Sen. Kasunic first introduced the legislation in November of 2011. While the Senate unanimously approved the bill last October, the two-year legislative session elapsed before the House could take up the measure.


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