By MARC LEVY
Gov. Ed Rendell is insisting on certain environmental protections and landowner compensation requirements before he signing any bill that forces Pennsylvania landowners to sell their below-ground natural gas rights to a drilling company.
Rendell’s top aides said this week that discussions on a measure being sought by the booming natural gas industry are in the early stages, although the pace of talks is expected to pick up in the coming weeks before the Legislature returns to Harrisburg in September.
The so-called pooling law is a top priority for the gas industry, which is pouring billions of dollars into the Marcellus Shale — a massive rock formation underlying New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia — in a modern-day gas rush.
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