Casey Offers Help to Bradford County

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement on the hydraulic fracturing well blowback incident today in Bradford County. Senator Casey has introduced legislation to improve safety for workers and emergency response procedures at drilling sites as well as legislation to protect drinking water and require public disclosure of chemicals used in the fracking process.

“My office has been in contact with state and local officials to see if any federal assistance is needed after the blowback in Bradford County,” said Senator Casey. “I will continue to monitor the situation as the investigation continues and more details are known. Natural gas drilling offers Pennsylvania a great economic opportunity. However, incidents like this blowback are a reminder that there are dangers and that precautions must be taken to protect the health and well-being of Pennsylvanians.”

Senator Casey's Faster Action Safety Team Emergency Response (FASTER) Act provides the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with the ability to draft regulations that will enhance emergency response procedures at oil and gas wells. Specifically, the Act provides OSHA the power to draft regulations that will require operators to:

• Have an employee, knowledgeable in responding to emergency situations, present at the well at all times during the exploration or drilling phase;

• Make available a certified response team, within three hours of ground travel time, if an emergency situation arises;

• Contact local first responders within 30 minutes of the commencement of an emergency situation;

• Contact OSHA within 1 hour of the commencement of an emergency situation;

• Contact the National Response Center within 1 hour of the commencement of an emergency situation;

• Provide communication technology at the well site (e.g., mobile communication or satellite phone);

• Provide annual training to local first responders on the hazards of a well site and proper emergency response techniques; and

• File an annual report with OSHA that names the certified response team assigned to each well of the operator.

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