EXPLAINER | DEP: The Department That Regulates and Oversees Drilling
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DEP: The Department That Regulates and Oversees Drilling

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. It is currently headed by Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

 

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Workers and contractors for Sunoco Pipeline have been investigating sink holes behind homes at Lisa Drive, West Whiteland Township, Chester County where the company has been drilling for construction of the Mariner East 2 and 2X pipelines. The company offered to relocate residents of the five homes whose yards are crossed by the pipeline right of way.

Suit accuses Sunoco of violating federal Clean Water Act

Even though the oil and gas industry is exempt from obtaining the permits – unlike other kinds of industrial construction such as powerlines — that exemption disappears when a water violation occurs, argued Aaron Stemplewicz, senior attorney for DRN.

By Jon Hurdle

FILE PHOTO: Shell flared off natural gas for three months in 2012, to alleviate subsurface pressure in Union Township, Tioga County, where one of its drilling sites got too close to an abandoned well

Wolf administration, two years after climate pledge: ‘no specific timeline’ on methane regulations

New requirements for oil and gas industry don't affect thousands of existing wells
By Marie Cusick

A Marcellus shale gas well in Washington County, Pa.

Pennsylvania, for first time, sets methane requirements on natural gas wells

Pennsylvania moved to regulate the greenhouse gas as the Trump administration tries to roll back federal methane rules. The state permits apply to new and modified wells and related compressor stations, but not to the state’s 11,000 existing Marcellus shale gas wells.

By Reid Frazier

An unconventional drilling site is prepared in Butler County, Pennsylvania in the winter of 2014.
Updated: May 31, 2018 | 4:48 pm

Study finds health threats from oil and gas wastewater spread on roads

Pennsylvania has ended what had become common practice for municipalities that wanted to suppress dust on unpaved roads. A study found that some chemicals wash away during rain — and that when the road dries, contaminants can get into the air.

By Reid Frazier

Mariner East 2 pipeline construction crews work in the backyards of homes on Lisa Drive in West Whiteland Township, Chester County, on May 2. Sinkholes that opened in the area prompted the state's Public Utility Commission to order that an existing pipeline nearby, the Mariner East 1, be shut down until it could be determined that the sinkholes didn't threaten its safety. PUC on May 3 approved a re-start of Mariner East 1.

Crews work to stabilize sinkholes in a West Whiteland Township neighborhood on March 3. The sinkholes appeared recently near a construction site for the Mariner East 2 pipeline.

StateImpact

Researchers Xiang Lee and Melissa Sullivan prepare to measure methane from a well site in Monroeville Community Park.

Scott Reynolds, owner of Express Transmission in Beaver County, shows an array of gas cap adapters. The adapters are used as a part of Pennsylvania's vehicle emission testing program.

Could some counties scrap the annual vehicle emissions test? A study aims to figure that out

One argument against keeping the tests: Most cars pass., and newer cars have better emission controls. Plus, one lawmaker said, why should neighboring counties have different sets of rules?

By Amy Sisk

StateImpact
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