WVU in the News: Law meant to push drilling further from houses had little impact, study finds

Despite a 2012 Pennsylvania law creating a 500-foot setback from houses and other structures for new oil and gas wells, companies have drilled hundreds of wells within that 500-foot distance, a new study found. 

Act 13 increased the setback for new wells from 200 to 500 feet from any “school, church, drinking water supply, wellhead protection area, or an occupied dwelling.” But in a paper published in the journal Energy Policy, researchers found the law had little impact on wells drilled within 500 feet of a house or other structure. 

Michael McCawley, clinical associate professor of occupational and environmental health sciences at West Virginia University, said in an email that the study showed the exemption for existing well pads in Act 13 “seems to nullify the effect” of the law.

Read the full story from The Allegheny Front.