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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

Wolf picks former Rendell appointees for top environmental posts

Governor-elect Tom Wolf has announced his picks for the state’s two top environmental posts. Both nominees will be heavily involved in overseeing Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale industry and have extensive backgrounds in environmental causes and government. Wolf nominated John Quigley to head the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP.) He previously served as Department of Conservation and [...]

Report: Quigley, Dunn to head environmental agencies under Wolf

Pennsylvania’s Governor-elect Tom Wolf continues filling his cabinet with former Rendell-era staffers. Sources tell the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Wolf will name John Quigley as his Department of Environmental Protection secretary and Cindy Dunn to lead the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. More from the Post-Gazette: The official announcements of those nominations could come as soon as [...]

Feds approve Pennsylvania’s water quality report

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given its approval to Pennsylvania’s water quality monitoring assessment. The bi-annual report is required under the federal Clean Water Act. Pennsylvania has six major river basins within its borders. The 2014 report includes two major changes to river listings: the Monongahela River, which was listed as impaired for potable [...]

StateImpact Pennsylvania’s most popular web stories of 2014

Web traffic can be unpredictable. Sometimes a great story doesn’t get a lot of clicks. Other times, breaking news or a popular search term suddenly attracts tons of traffic. As we look back on 2014, it’s clear we got a lot of clicks, comments, and reactions from you– our online readers. We’ve crunched the numbers, and [...]

2014: DEP stepped up enforcement of industry with hefty fines

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection ended the year with some pretty large lumps of coal for a few misbehaving natural gas drillers. And those penalties contrast sharply with previous years. In September, the DEP issued a $4.1 million dollar fine against driller Range Resources – the highest penalty it has levied against a driller. The agency [...]

DEP reaches $800,000 settlement with pipeline company

The state Department of Environmental Protection announced an $800,000 settlement today with Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, for multiple violations of Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law. The incidents took place in four north-central Pennsylvania counties during 2011 and 2012. The company has agreed to pay a  $210,000 penalty and fund a $540,000 clean-up program of illegal [...]

DEP slaps Vantage Energy with massive fine for landslide and dumping

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection fined the Colorado-based Vantage Energy almost $1 million for more than a dozen violations of the state’s Clean Streams Law and the  Oil and Gas Act. The sanction stems from a landslide at the company’s Porter Street well site in Franklin Township, Greene County. But it turns out the landslide [...]

Wolf names more members to transition team

Governor-elect Tom Wolf has announced more members to his transition team. They will work with the committee heads he named last week and the outgoing Corbett administration to identify issues and challenges at state agencies. You can read the full list of transition team members here. Here are the names at the state agencies most [...]

Wolf appoints reviewers for DEP, DCNR, DOH and PUC

Pennsylvania Governor-elect Tom Wolf has appointed a number of people to review departments and issues ahead of the January 20 inauguration. The reviewers will work with the current Corbett administration to “better understand the issues and challenges that face the executive branch,” according to a release. Wolf’s spokesperson Jeff Sheridan said the goal would be [...]

Wolf taps former DEP secretary for policy chief

Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor-elect Tom Wolf has tapped former state environmental protection secretary John Hanger to be his Secretary of Planning and Policy. In this high-ranking post, Hanger says he will help the governor develop and implement his policy agenda, which includes plans for a severance tax on Marcellus Shale drilling and reinstating a moratorium on new [...]

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