Pennsylvania

Energy. Environment. Economy.

Topics

DEP

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 backs Obama’s Clean Power Plan

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf says he’s committed to reducing carbon emissions from the state’s power plants, and says the President’s climate goals are challenging but achievable. President Obama gave a strong call to action in announcing the new climate change rules. “We’re the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and we’re the [...]

Mystery continues over radioactivity in Western Pa. stream

On the banks of Ten Mile Creek, a stream that snakes through Greene County, Ken Dufalla looked out at one of his favorite fishing spots. “That’s probably one of the best walleye fishing there is in the evening you can find. I’ve caught muskies, walleyes, saugers,” Dufalla said. Four years ago, Dufalla, who leads a [...]

New task force seeks to manage ‘massive’ buildout of pipelines

Pennsylvania will see as many as 30,000 miles of new pipeline built over the next 20 years to take the huge natural gas resources of the Marcellus and Utica Shales to market, the Department of Environmental Protection Secretary, John Quigley, said on Wednesday. Quigley’s forecast came after the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force, a wide-ranging group [...]

Parents protest fracking near schools

Reid Frazier Nichole Mazurek, of Middlesex Township, at an anti-fracking protest with her three children, Samantha, 8, Ian, 3, and Alyson 6. More than 50 protesters stood in front of the Mars Area High School in Middlesex Township, Butler County on Wednesday, bearing signs that said “Ban Fracking Now” and “Stop Fracking by Our Schools”. [...]

Project would bring 400,000 tons of drilling waste to Pa.’s ‘Grand Canyon’

As Marcellus Shale gas drilling has proliferated, so has the amount of waste it generates. Last year in Pennsylvania, over two million tons of drill cuttings were sent to landfills. Cuttings are the waste dirt and rock that comes up from drilling wells. The material contains naturally occurring radiation, heavy metals, and industrial chemicals. Over the [...]

Wolf Administration announces members of new pipeline task force

Governor Wolf has announced members of the state’s new Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force, which will be led by DEP Secretary John Quigley. The 48-member body was chosen from an applicant pool of about 200 people. An additional 101 people will serve on working groups that will help inform the task force, according to a press [...]

Budget bill would block new rules for conventional drillers

Environmentalists are raising alarms over language slipped into a budget bill that would prevent the state Department of Environmental Protection from establishing its new draft rules on conventional oil and gas drillers. “It’s very sneaky. It’s a dangerous pathway to go down,” says Matt Stepp, policy director for the environmental group PennFuture. “This would actually stop [...]

Fracking health complaints received little follow-up from the Department of Health

Newly released documents from the Pennsylvania Department of Health on fracking-related health complaints reveal a lack of follow-through and inaccurate record-keeping. The telephone logs, which span four years from 2011 to 2015, were gained through a Right-to-Know request by the environmental group Food and Water Watch. The documents include about 87 separate complaints from residents [...]

DEP issues permits to Shell for possible ethane cracker

Shell Chemical moved a step closer to the possible construction of a major petrochemical plant in western Pennsylvania on Friday when it received four permits for air quality and water management from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. Four years after announcing it was considering building the multi-billion-dollar plant in Beaver County about 25 miles [...]

DEP plans new fracking chemical disclosure site, promises more transparency

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection is developing several tools to make information on natural gas drilling more accessible to the public. This includes a new fracking chemical disclosure site, a web portal for information on each natural gas well, and opportunities for the public to comment on proposed DEP policies. DEP Secretary John Quigley says [...]

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »

Economy
Education