The Capital Building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

A new Pennsylvania law that soon goes into effect will require natural gas drillers to comply with stricter environmental sustainability and transparency measures. The law, called Act 13, was signed by Governor Tom Corbett in February of this year and goes into effect on April 16th.

Under Act 13, operators will be required to abide by new provisions that include increased setbacks from waterways and buildings; limited floodplain development; and increased time and distance stipulations in which gas drillers are presumed liable for water contamination until evidence proves otherwise.

Companies must also register their hydraulic fracturing fluid ingredients with Fracfocus.org, a transparency initiative created by the Groundwater Protection Council and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, which are both state-level governmental organizations.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is hosting online information sessions to prepare industry participants and the general public for Act 13′s implementation. “Act 13 reaffirms our strong commitment to safe, responsible, environmentally sensitive and transparent natural gas development here in Pennsylvania,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “Our intent with these sessions is to explain the law and answer whatever questions people may have.”

For more on Pennsylvania natural gas drilling regulations on Breaking Energy, click here.

The one-hour sessions, which began March 27th with an overview, continue through the first three weeks of April with presentations covering permitting and notifications; environmental protection and enhancement; and inspections and enforcement. Session recordings will be posted on the DEP website.