Senator Yaw Tells Senate Panel Communication Vital In Developing Natural Gas Emergency Preparedness Plan

(HARRISBURG) — A strong emergency preparedness plan for the natural gas industry involves “planning, education and communication,” according to Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), who this week testified before the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.

The committee heard from state and local officials as well as representatives of the natural gas industry on issues relating to the rapidly growing natural gas industry and its impact on communities located within the Marcellus Shale.  In addition to Senator Yaw, others testifying were DEP Secretary John Hanger and Craig Konkle, Lycoming County Emergency Management Training and Public Education Supervisor.

Among the topics discussed were how to prepare for and respond to a natural gas accident, the need for intergovernmental cooperation and strong oversight, and how to mitigate safety concerns, including growing truck traffic.

Yaw, who has been a member of the Lycoming County Gas Exploration Task Force since its beginning in 2008, said the key to meeting these challenges is strong communication among all those involved.  Yaw stated that his experience as a member of the Task Force has been invaluable to him in understanding the need for emergency preparedness.

The Senator cited his participation in an intensive training exercise to help emergency responders prepare for an accident at a gas drilling site. The event was the result of months of planning by the Lycoming County Gas Exploration Task Force’s Public Safety Subcommittee and Range Resources, a Texas-based gas exploration company.

“Our goal is to be ready, to work together and to find good cooperative ways to manage this very important resource and protect our communities and our environment,” Yaw said.  “It is vital that we are all offering input and looking for solutions where we see potential challenges.”

Yaw said he is committed to ensuring public safety and protecting the environment as Marcellus Shale drilling continues.  He said that local, state and federal officials must work closely with those in the natural gas industry to monitor and regulate drilling operations and ensure that communities in the area are not negatively impacted by operations.

Contact: Adam Pankake

Back to Top