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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

Appeals court clears way for eminent domain suit against Sunoco Logistics

A Pennsylvania appeals court on Wednesday rejected an attempt by Sunoco Logistics to throw out a challenge to its planned Mariner East 2 pipeline, clearing the way for the environmental group Clean Air Council to argue against the company’s use of eminent domain to build the pipeline. The Commonwealth Court denied the company’s request for [...]

DEP launches investigation into Doylestown-area private water well contamination

Last month, the federal Environmental Protection Agency instituted more rigorous health advisory levels for chemicals called polyfluorinated compounds or PFCs. Suddenly, a well on Easton Road in Bucks County known to contain PFC’s was above the new, stricter cutoff. As of 2016, the new recommended lifetime exposure level in drinking water for two PFCs — known [...]

Former environmental secretary hired by University of Pennsylvania

A month after his controversial departure from the state Department of Environmental Protection, former Secretary John Quigley has landed a new job as a Senior Fellow at the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design. “It’s exciting. I am very happy to be at Kleinman,” Quigley tells StateImpact Pennsylvania. [...]

Lawsuit accuses Range Resources and lab of doctoring water test results

A water testing company that worked with Range Resources to evaluate whether or not residential water supplies were contaminated is defending itself against a lawsuit that claims the company allowed the gas driller to alter a print out of the test results, which Range then submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP used [...]

As fiscal year ends, lawmakers weigh controversial energy and environmental bills

Republican leaders in the Pennsylvania legislature are seeking approval of a clutch of bills that environmentalists say would dismantle protections against environmental damage by the state’s energy industry, make it harder for Pennsylvania to comply with the Obama plan to cut power-plant emissions, and hand more control over regulation to pro-industry lawmakers. Industry groups and [...]

House panel approves measure to exempt conventional drillers from new regs

A Pennsylvania House committee on Wednesday approved an amendment that would exempt conventional oil and gas activities from proposed regulations. The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee easily passed the amendment to SB 279, which creates a council to advise the Department of Environmental Protection on regulation to distinguish between conventional and unconventional oil and gas [...]

Acting environmental secretary expected to avoid ruffling feathers

Any secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection needs to combine technical and political skills to ensure air and water quality are being defended while navigating the often-conflicting agendas of the environmental and industrial communities. Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell, a 19-year veteran of the department, took on what observers say is one of the state’s [...]

Shell says giant ethane cracker plant will go ahead near Pittsburgh

The oil giant Shell on Tuesday gave the final go-ahead for construction of a major petrochemical complex in western Pennsylvania where ethane from the Marcellus and Utica shales will be used to make ethylene for the manufacture of plastics. The long-awaited multi-billion-dollar plant will be built in Potter Township, Beaver County, about 30 miles northwest [...]

Don’t frack the rich? Comment puts focus on environmental justice

At a recent legal forum in Harrisburg, a prominent natural gas industry executive suggested his company tries to avoid drilling near rich people. “I was infuriated when I heard it,” says Patrick Grenter, of the environmental advocacy group, the Center for Coalfield Justice. ”I was sitting with some colleagues and I said to them, ‘Did he [...]

Federal public health report highlights contaminants in Dimock’s water

A federal public health report on Dimock’s much-publicized water woes found threatening levels of chemicals in 27 private water wells, and explosive levels of methane in 17 private water wells during a six-month period in 2012. The results were based on samples taken four years ago, while a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the area [...]

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