snapshot -- a person puts a match to her kitchen faucet, and as water comes out, there’s a huge flame?  It’s an image that’s been publicized by opponents of natural gas drilling.  But state Republican Rep. Ron Miller, of York County, said the story has been around for decades.  "Long before the Marcellus gas wells were drilled, long before fracking.”  More after the jump."> snapshot -- a person puts a match to her kitchen faucet, and as water comes out, there’s a huge flame?  It’s an image that’s been publicized by opponents of natural gas drilling.  But state Republican Rep. Ron Miller, of York County, said the story has been around for decades.  "Long before the Marcellus gas wells were drilled, long before fracking.”  More after the jump."> snapshot -- a person puts a match to her kitchen faucet, and as water comes out, there’s a huge flame?  It’s an image that’s been publicized by opponents of natural gas drilling.  But state Republican Rep. Ron Miller, of York County, said the story has been around for decades.  "Long before the Marcellus gas wells were drilled, long before fracking.”  More after the jump."> House Republican says rules for water wells feasible this time | State House Sound Bites | witf.org
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House Republican says rules for water wells feasible this time

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Jan 10, 2012 6:13 PM

You’ve seen the snapshot -- a person puts a match to her kitchen faucet, and as water comes out, there’s a huge flame? 

It’s an image that’s been publicized by opponents of natural gas drilling.  But state Republican Rep. Ron Miller, of York County, said the story has been around for decades.

“Many of my college roommates and friends were from the northern tier, and there were stories then of people who could hold a match to their faucet and light the water on fire,” said Miller.  “Natural gas migration– it exists.  It existed long before the Marcellus gas wells were drilled, long before fracking.”

Natural gas migration is one of the problems Miller said could be avoided if the state had better rules governing how private water wells are drilled.  He’s proposing new construction standards, something that has been tried and failed in the past ten years.  Past efforts to regulate private water wells have been mired in controversy – controversy that Miller said has long been based on a misconception. 

“It wasn’t true, but what was alleged at the time was that people would be charged for usage of their well-water.  That absolutely wasn’t true at that time and is absolutely not true now.”

In fact, said Miller, a 2002 Pennsylvania law prohibits the state from metering private wells.

The governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission is one of the more recent groups to advise creating construction codes for private water wells.  Before that, the Pennsylvania Ground Water Association recommended regulating water well drilling.  Miller said the two endorsements, along with the 2002 law, should make the legislative lift a bit easier this time around.

“I am hopeful that this will not turn into the controversy it was before,” said Miller.   “We’ve had two studies recommending in recent years that we have these standards.”

Miller says 20,000 wells are drilled in Pennsylvania every year, and about three million state residents get their water from private wells. 

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