Earthworks

Enforcement Report - Pennsylvania DEP

Enforcement Report - Pennsylvania DEP
Inadequate enforcement guarantees irresponsible oil and gas development in Pennsylvania

Published: September 25, 2012

By: Lisa Sumi

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Pennsylvania does not have a stand-alone agency responsible for regulating oil and gas development. In Pennsylvania, the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Office of Oil and Gas Management is responsible for facilitating “the safe exploration, development, recovery of Pennsylvania's oil and gas reservoirs in a manner that will protect the commonwealth's natural resources and the environment.”

In recent years oil and gas development has boomed in Pennsylvania, where more than 19,000 conventional oil and gas wells and more than 5,000 Marcellus shale gas wells have been drilled since 2005. In response to the increase in activity,  DEP quadrupled the size of its enforcement staff to 130 employees, 65 of which are inspectors. In 2011, this number was reportedly increased to 88 inspectors. As will be shown in this fact sheet, DEP’s efforts have not been enough to protect the environment and public health.

“We as an industry have gone to the state of Pennsylvania and said you don't have enough inspectors, you don't have enough people.”

--Steve Mueller, president of Southwestern Energy Company

Tagged with: violations, transparency, pennsylvania department of environmental protection, pennsylvania, penalties, inspections, fracking, enforcement, drilling

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