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DEP: The Department That Regulates and Oversees Drilling

Background

Regulating natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation is one of many duties charged to the Department of Environmental Protection.

DEP is responsible for enforcing the state’s Oil and Gas Act, as well as state regulations on drinking water quality, air quality and the environmental health of rivers and streams.

DEP divides the state into six regions, and operates 19 district offices.

The department’s Bureau of Oil and Gas Management employs about 80 well inspectors, who are funded through drilling permitting fees.  A proposed – but quickly scuttled – change in regulatory policy raised the ire of drilling opponents in early 2011. A leaked internal memo directed regional offices to forward notices of violation for drillers to the Harrisburg office for final approval. DEP officials quickly backtracked, calling the change a “pilot program,” and then scrapping it altogether.

The DEP is now headed by Acting Secretary John Quigley, who previously served as Secretary for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in Governor Ed Rendell’s administration.

 

Latest Posts

Marcellus Shale drillers to begin monthly gas production reporting

Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale drillers will begin filing monthly production reports next week, to comply with a new law enacted last fall. Monthly production reports bring Pennsylvania in line with other major gas-producing states. The data was previously collected by the state Department of Environmental Protection twice a year. Transparency around gas production data has become [...]

Quigley responds to criticism over new drilling regulations

Governor Wolf’s pick to head the state Department of Environmental Protection is defending the way the agency has handled proposed changes to gas drilling regulations. At a public meeting last week, representatives from the state’s Marcellus Shale industry sharply criticized the agency and suggested the Wolf administration illegally appointed non-voting members to its newly formed Oil [...]

Gas industry slams DEP over new drilling rules

Representatives from the state’s Marcellus Shale industry are criticizing the way the Wolf administration has handled proposed changes to drilling regulations. At a meeting of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board (TAB) Friday, industry groups questioned the level of transparency around new draft rules. Kevin Moody, of the Pennsylvania Independent [...]

Wolf’s environmental chief questioned on gas tax, new drilling rules

Governor Wolf’s pick to head the state Department of Environmental Protection spent much of Wednesday afternoon defending the new administration’s proposed gas drilling policies at a state House budget hearing in Harrisburg. John Maher (R- Allegheny) began by questioning acting DEP Secretary John Quigley about why the administration quickly disbanded the agency’s Oil and Gas Technical [...]

Pennsylvania DEP trying to forge new strategy for pipelines

John Quigley, Acting Secretary for the Department of Environmental Protection, says he wants to try to incorporate planning strategies for what some say is now a maddening and chaotic rush to build new natural gas pipelines across every county in Pennsylvania. “We’re not under any illusion to reduce impact to zero,” Quigley told StateImpact. “There’s [...]

With new draft rules, DEP steps up oversight of drilling waste

The state Department of Environmental Protection is planning to increase its oversight of oil and gas drilling waste. The department issued new draft regulations which would ban the use of temporary waste storage pits and require drillers to either shut down or upgrade large centralized wastewater impoundment ponds. The waste rules are among other changes to DEP’s [...]

Changes at DEP could delay new oil and gas rules

Long awaited changes to the state’s oil and gas rules may run into some snags with new faces in Harrisburg. But DEP secretary for oil and gas, Scott Perry, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that missing the March 2016 deadline to upgrade regulations would be a “failure.” The state’s new oil and gas law, known as [...]

Commonwealth Court rejects appeal on state forest leasing

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court rejected an appeal by the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation on Tuesday regarding drilling in state forests. The Court issued its original ruling last month in a case filed by the environmental law firm, which challenged the leasing of public land to natural gas drillers. In an en banc decision on January 7, the [...]

Range to pay $1.75M to settle water withdrawal violations it reported to DEP

One of the state’s biggest gas drillers has agreed to pay a $1.75 million settlement with the Department of Environmental Protection for failing to keep records of its withdrawals from waterways in Southwest Pennsylvania for more than five years. According to the DEP, Range Resources brought these violations to the agency’s attention. “We obviously want [...]

Study: Radioactive gas drilling waste not a threat to public health

A Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection study looking at radiation exposure from oil and gas development says there is “little potential for harm to workers or the public.” DEP released the peer-reviewed report Thursday, which Governor Corbett initiated in January 2013. DEP hired PermaFix, an Atlanta-based company that specializes in nuclear and industrial waste disposal, [...]

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