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<a href="http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-05-14/shale-gas-producers-obey-new-pennsylvania-rules-early-correct-.html" target="_blank">Shale-gas producers told Pennsylvania regulators most of them are already complying with new regulations for protecting aquifers that aren’t scheduled to be adopted until October.

Thirty-five shale-gas producers, members of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, also agreed today to work with the state to develop better tests, record-keeping and drilling procedures to prevent methane gas from contaminating groundwater.

“We want a world-class regulatory environment and a world- class industry environment in Pennsylvania, since we have a huge opportunity in front of us,” Ray Walker, chairman of the coalition and a senior vice president at Fort Worth, Texas-based Range Resources Corp., said today in an interview.

“Cabot is committed to working with Secretary Hanger to ensure we have the best regulations for Pennsylvania,” company spokesman George Stark said after today’s meeting.

Water contamination at Dimock has drawn the attention of environmental groups opposed to drilling and the use of hydraulic fracturing to extract gas from shale formations. Drillers inject a mixture of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to bust open shale and unlock gas deposits.

The new Pennsylvania rules will require companies to disclose the chemicals they use during fracturing, said Kathryn Klaber, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

Victoria Switzer, 57, a retired schoolteacher who lives within 1,300 feet of three Cabot wells in Dimock, said she had so much methane in her well that her water bubbled like Alka- Seltzer. Methane blew an eight-inch concrete slab off the top of neighbor Norma Fiorentino’s well on Dec. 31, 2008, she said.

Along with Fiorentino and other neighbors, Switzer is suing Cabot for negligence.

“We were unwilling participants in a grievously-gone-wrong experiment in rapid industrialization of a pristine natural area,” Switzer said.

“What we’ve done here is put up the drilling rigs before we had the regulations in place. It’s ridiculous.”

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