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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. It is currently headed by Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

 

Latest Posts

Older Pa. gas storage wells threaten methane leaks, study says

Pennsylvania has hundreds of underground natural gas storage sites that are vulnerable to methane leaks because they were built at least 60 years ago, and were probably never designed to store gas, according to a Harvard University study released on Tuesday. The national study said Pennsylvania has 830 such sites that are in active use [...]

State senate confirms McDonnell as environmental secretary

The state senate unanimously approved Governor Tom Wolf’s pick to head the state Department of Environmental Protection on Monday. DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell has been at the helm of the agency for nearly a year. He was appointed last May after the abrupt departure of his predecessor, John Quigley, who was ensnared in controversy over an angry email [...]

Senate panel approves Wolf’s pick for environmental secretary

A state Senate panel has unanimously approved Governor Tom Wolf’s choice to lead the state Department of Environmental Protection. Patrick McDonnell has already been on the job for nearly a year, as DEP’s Acting Secretary. He was appointed after the abrupt departure of his predecessor, John Quigley, who was ensnared in controversy over an angry [...]

EPA urges Pennsylvania to move faster on water safety issues

Federal regulators are urging Pennsylvania to act quickly to fix serious staffing shortfalls in the state’s safe drinking water program. In December EPA sent Pennsylvania a letter warning its water program was so under-staffed it was failing to enforce federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards. Pennsylvania responded by saying it planned to hike fees on public water [...]

New Jersey rejects PennEast application for water permit for now, gives company new deadline

The embattled PennEast natural gas pipeline suffered another blow on Wednesday when New Jersey officials rejected the company’s current application for a freshwater wetlands permit, saying it lacked a long list of information. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection gave PennEast another 30 days to submit information ranging from tax maps and historic property [...]

EPA cuts would leave states with more work, less money

The Trump administration has proposed cutting 2.6 billion dollars from the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s about a third of its budget. It could mean state environmental agencies will have to do more work with less money. But in many places, those agencies are already strapped. Late last year the EPA sent Pennsylvania a letter warning its [...]

State sues townships that tried to ban injection wells

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is suing two rural townships that attempted to block underground disposal wells for oil and gas wastewater. On Monday DEP approved two new injection well permits in Highland Township, Elk County, and Grant Township, Indiana County. In its public announcement, the agency didn’t mention it was filing a lawsuit [...]

Environmental justice will be focus of statewide ‘listening tour’

Environmental regulators are launching a statewide “listening tour” next month, focused on environmental justice. In Pennsylvania an environmental justice (EJ) zone is defined as a census tract where at least 20 percent of people live in poverty and/or at least 30 percent of the population is minority. The idea is to protect people in marginalized communities, who often [...]

Pennsylvania OKs new injection wells for oil and gas wastewater

Pennsylvania environmental regulators have approved two new underground injection wells to take in wastewater from the oil and gas industry. Pennsylvania already has six active injection wells, according to Scott Perry, who runs the Office of Oil and Gas Management at the state Department of Environmental Protection. He says new injection wells are needed as gas drilling [...]

DEP officials won’t answer lawmakers’ questions on pipeline documents

Pennsylvania officials declined on Wednesday to answer lawmakers’ questions on documents indicating that the state had issued permits for the Mariner East 2 pipeline before ensuring that it met all regulatory requirements. A bipartisan group of three lawmakers met with three top officials from the Department of Environmental Protection in Harrisburg to discuss public concerns [...]

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