Gov. Tom Wolf’s efforts to speed up the state’s environmental permitting process was among the main topics of discussion on the latest broadcast of The Confluence, a news program on Pittsburgh’s 90.5 FM WESA. StateImpact Pennsylvania’s Reid Frazier spoke about what impact Wolf’s efforts to hire 35 more Department of Environmental Protection inspectors, could have for the state’s oil and gas industry.
“The DEP’s staffing is down around 40 percent…that’s had an impact on how quickly the DEP staff can go through permits,” Frazier said. “Govenor Wolf has proposed adding $2.5 million to the DEP’s budget–out of a total state budget of $32 billion…to speed the permit process along.”
Frazier also discussed attempts by Beaver County activists to get the DEP to extend the comment period on permits to build a pipeline to Shell’s new ethane cracker plant, and why a Western Pennsylvania municipality wants the state Supreme Court to side with them in a case where they are trying to strictly regulate EQT’s attempts to drill for gas in their community.
Discussing these and other energy stories were reporter Anya Litvak with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; and Kirk Jalbert, manager of community-based research for Pittsburgh nonprofit, FracTracker Alliance.
The Confluence is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program. Each week, reporters, editors and storytellers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region.
Find more episodes of The Confluence here.