U.S. Reps. Gene Thompson and Tim Murphy, and State Sen. Gene Yaw welcome the industry.

The burgeoning Marcellus shale play in Pennsylvania is a welcome boon to the state’s depressed economy and three legislators stand ready to help the Keystone State take advantage of what they call a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. And all three oppose attempts to institute federal regulation of hydraulic frac fluids.

“The Marcellus is an incredible opportunity. This is the next chapter for our state, and it’s home-grown energy,” says Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-PA. For more of his remarks, see the archived webinar at UGcenter.com Surface Challenges In The Marcellus: Access, Water, Taxes now available on demand. Thompson represents the Fifth Congressional District, which includes 17 western Pennsylvania counties.

“I see this as another great well, but one that is much longer lasting. A recent Penn State study showed that the Marcellus created 29,000 jobs just in one year, 2008.”

Rep. Tim Murphy, R-PA, who represents the 18th District, says, “Lo and behold, it’s as if we hit the lottery. This is contributing to jobs, wages…But with this great opportunity comes great responsibility. We’ve got to manage this right.”

Murphy, whose district includes southwestern Pennsylvania counties, is founder and co-chairman of the recently formed the House’s Natural Gas Caucus, which now has 45 members from both parties. Thompson is also a member. The caucus is promoting more natural gas use for power generation and fleet vehicles.

The legislators oppose attempts in Congress to regulate frac fluids, saying the states already do so. State Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock, representing Pennsylvania’s 23rd State Senate District, including Susquehanna County, says, “This is a piece of legislation that is just not needed. Fracing has changed dramatically in the last two years. One problem people have is how do we treat the frac water? But one of the natural gas companies has made it so that virtually no water comes back out of the ground (when drilling).”

Murphy says it is very important that the energy industry speak up on this topic. Thompson calls it “a bad bill.”

Yaw notes how cooperative Marcellus operators have been, and that they are concerned with safety and community relations. Yaw recently led the filming and production of the first-ever, large-scale safety-drill video for the state’s first responders. The video, which was underwritten by Range Resources Corp. (NYSE: RRC), was filmed in his district, in Lycoming County at one of Range’s locations.

--Leslie Haines, Editor-in-chief, Oil and Gas Investor