EARTHblog » Nadia Steinzor
October 3, 2012
It’s practically become a tradition: organizations and citizens gather at the State Capitol in Harrisburg to decry actions taken by elected officials who seem more interested in doing the gas industry’s bidding than what’s right for communities and the environment.
At yesterday’s rally, participants demanded that the legislature revoke Act 13, which gutted local zoning rights over oil and gas operations and would allow facilities even in residential and agricultural areas. When it passed last February, Earthworks and our allies quickly denounced it as another big gas giveaway. As predicted, the backlash was swift and strong—culminating in a lawsuit brought by Delaware Riverkeeper Network and several municipalities that was largely upheld by the state Commonwealth Court (a state Supreme Court ruling is expected this fall).
September 28, 2012
The most fundamental truth uncovered in Earthworks’ just-released report Breaking All the Rules: the Crisis in Oil & Gas Regulation, is that states are falling tragically short in enforcing their own oil and gas development rules.
It is good to see that John Hanger, ex-Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), does not argue that truth.
But even if the numbers shift a bit in some months, the key question that was the impetus to this research remains:
"Can the public have confidence that their health, air and water are being protected?”
Citing different numbers does not even begin to answer this question because the Pennsylvania DEP addressed its enforcement inadequacies in the same manner that allowed the problem to develop in the first place: DEP looked at the amount of drilling as something outside their control, and defined their ability to govern that drilling in terms of the limited resources available to them.