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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

Wolf on water safety issues: ‘I’m looking into it’

Governor Tom Wolf is responding to a warning federal officials sent more a month ago, saying staffing shortages are seriously impairing the state’s abilities to enforce safe drinking water standards. Wolf appeared caught off guard Thursday when asked by a reporter about a December 30 letter the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sent to the state Department of Environmental [...]

Pennsylvania lacks resources to enforce safe water standards, says EPA

Federal officials are warning the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection that it lacks the necessary staffing and resources to enforce safe drinking water standards, which could be grounds for taking primacy away– costing the state millions of dollars in federal funding. “Pennsylvania’s drinking water program failed to meet the federal requirement for onsite review of [...]

Data trove offers new details on complaints to DEP during shale boom

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection received 9,442 public complaints about environmental problems in areas where unconventional natural gas development occurred from 2004 to the end of November 2016, an investigation reported, unveiling a trove of documents from the state’s natural gas boom. The three-year investigation conducted by the Pittsburgh-based Public Herald watch-dog website, said 4,108 of [...]

Trump administration issues temporary media blackout at EPA, freezes grants

The Trump administration has implemented a temporary media “black out” at the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a report by the Associated Press that cited emails to EPA staffers. EPA press releases, blog post updates, and social media posts are banned for an indeterminate amount of time. All media requests are to be forwarded to [...]

Consultant’s report endorses safety of Mariner East 2; critics unmoved

Public debate over the safety of the proposed Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline was fueled with the publication of a consultant’s report endorsing Sunoco Logistics‘ plans on one section of the line in Chester County, while critics said the report failed to address what could happen if there was a leak. The report by [...]

Under proposal, DEP would lose control of revenue from drilling penalties

A Republican state senator wants the legislature, rather than state environmental regulators, to control the money generated by oil and gas violations in Pennsylvania. Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R- Venango) recently sent out a co-sponsorship memo seeking support for new legislation. He sees it as a separation of powers issue. “Traditional legislative powers have drifted toward the [...]

Town declarations highlight public-safety worries over Mariner East 2

Some communities in Philadelphia’s western suburbs are reflecting public concerns over the proposed Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline by issuing official statements saying that the $2.5 billion line could endanger public safety. Eight townships or boroughs along or close to the route in Delaware and Chester Counties have published resolutions or proclamations as [...]

DEP revising erosion and sediment control permits for oil and gas

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is updating the way it handles erosion and sediment control permits related to oil and gas development. A recent internal audit by the department raises questions about the efficacy of its expedited permit review process, which was established in 2012, and allows under certain conditions, a 14-business-day review for an [...]

DEP to launch statewide listening tour in early 2017

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection intends to launch a statewide listening tour early next year, focusing on environmental justice issues related to oil and gas development. Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell says department staff plan to visit every corner of the state. “We’re going into communities where we need to up our game on [...]

Shell proposes bargain to meet pollution targets for ethane cracker

On Thursday, activists asked state regulators to impose strict air and water pollution controls on Shell’s planned ethane cracker in Beaver County. They spoke at a Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) hearing on the plant’s proposed air and water pollution permits. Shell’s plant would take natural gas from the surrounding region and create polyethylene, a [...]

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