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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

Lack of data on fracking spills leaves researchers in the dark on water contamination

A recently published peer-review of the EPA’s fracking study criticized the agency for reaching conclusions in their draft report without adequately explaining the lack of data and research available, including information related to wastewater, chemical and fuel spills resulting from oil and gas production. The EPA’s Science Advisory Board, an independent group of scientists tasked [...]

DEP plans more monitoring to clamp down on methane leaks

Pennsylvania Department on Environmental Protection has announced plans to crack down on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry in ways that exceed new EPA standards. Calling climate change the “greatest environmental issue of our time” DEP secretary John Quigley says Pennsylvania should act as a national leader in curbing fugitive leaks of the [...]

House approves budget bill with controversial energy provisions

The Republican-controlled state House approved a budget bill Tuesday that has drawn criticism from Democrats and environmental groups over language that affects new oil and gas regulations and federal efforts to combat climate change. The fiscal code acts as a set of instructions, directing money for the overall state budget. Last month it was approved [...]

Marcellus output flat amid falling prices, slack demand, pipeline shortage

Natural gas production from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus and Utica shales showed little change in 2015 as energy companies deferred expansion plans amid falling prices, sluggish demand growth, and a continuing shortage of pipelines to take the state’s abundant gas to market. Data from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection show unconventional gas production from the two [...]

DEP finalizes new oil and gas drilling regulations

State environmental regulators are finalizing updates of new oil and gas regulations, which include more stringent rules around permitting, waste handling, water restoration, and identifying old wells. The new rules from the state Department of Environmental Protection come at a time when Pennsylvania is already nearly a decade into the Marcellus Shale boom. “The process [...]

DEP fines Kinder Morgan for Philadelphia storage tank violations

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has fined Kinder Morgan $745,000 for violations at the company’s two Philadelphia liquid storage facilities. The bulk of that fine, $570,000, stems from a spill of about 8,000 gallons of fuel grade ethanol from an above ground storage tank at the Kinder Morgan Liquids Terminal along the Delaware river in [...]

No link between fracking and smallmouth bass decline

There is no link between Pennsylvania’s surge in gas drilling and the startling decline of the smallmouth bass population in the Susquehanna River, say two state environmental officials. Speaking Tuesday on WITF’s Smart Talk John Quigley and John Arway, who lead the state Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission respectively, say [...]

Report revives debate over risks of radiation from drilling waste

Concern over whether oil and gas drilling waste emits radiation at unhealthy levels in Pennsylvania has resurfaced with the publication of a report alleging the Department of Environmental Protection ignored hazardous radioactivity from the industry when it issued its own study on the issue almost a year ago. The environmental group Delaware Riverkeeper Network said [...]

DEP testing was flawed, no danger of radioactivity in western Pa. creek

The state Department of Environmental Protection says its initial test results were flawed, and there is no danger of elevated radioactivity in Tenmile Creek, Greene County. The waterway feeds into the Monongahela River, which is a source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people in western Pennsylvania, including parts of Pittsburgh. As StateImpact Pennsylvania previously [...]

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