Energy. Environment. Economy.



DEP: The Department That Regulates and Oversees Drilling


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

A year later, pipeline report is largely ignored

Pennsylvania has rapidly become a hub for the development of new natural gas pipelines. In recent weeks, billions of dollars worth of projects have been approved by state and federal regulators. Shortly after he took office, Governor Tom Wolf convened a major task force to recommend ways to coordinate planning and best practices for this building boom. [...]

State funding to DEP is inadequate, says advisory panel

An advisory panel to the state Department of Environmental Protection warns consistent cuts to the agency over the last 20 years have reached an “unsustainable level.” In a letter sent Tuesday to state Senate Appropriations Committee chairs Patrick Browne and Vincent Hughes, DEP’s Citizens Advisory Council chairman William Fink says the cuts are threatening the [...]

DEP to hold meeting on decades-long effort to rebuild crumbling DelCo dam

Pennsylvania environmental officials are holding a public meeting Wednesday to discuss developments on a decades-long effort to rebuild a crumbling dam in Delaware County. It comes just over one week after concerns about eroding infrastructure at the Oroville Dam in Northern California forced more than 180,000 people to evacuate their homes. The Broomall Lake Dam [...]

Sunoco clears trees, builds drill pads for Mariner East 2 pipeline

Preliminary construction work for the Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline took place in Delaware and Huntingdon Counties on Monday, a week after state officials issued the final permits for the controversial cross-state project. Workers cleared trees and built drill pads in Aston in Delaware County and Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County, the first [...]

Pennsylvania confirms first fracking-related earthquakes

Pennsylvania officials say they’ve confirmed the state’s first fracking-related earthquakes took place last year in Lawrence County, northwest of Pittsburgh. As a result, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is stepping up its requirements for drilling in that part of the state, which is known for seismic activity. In April 2016, Texas-based Hilcorp Energy Company [...]

West Goshen says Sunoco violated Mariner East agreement

Chester County’s West Goshen Township filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Friday, alleging that Sunoco Logistics is violating an agreement on a section of its controversial Mariner East pipeline project that runs through the municipality. The complaint says Sunoco has failed to install a remote-control valve on the existing Mariner East [...]

Judge denies appeal for temporary halt to Mariner East 2 construction

Update: This story has been updated to reflect a request for the judge to reconsider his decision. A Pennsylvania judge on Friday denied a request to temporarily halt the start of construction of the controversial Mariner East 2 pipeline. Judge Bernard Labuskes of the Environmental Hearing Board did not give a reason for denying the [...]

Environmental board hears appeal of Mariner East 2 permits

Update: The Environmental Hearing Board rejected a temporary halt on the start of construction Friday morning, updates will be forthcoming. Three environmental groups urged a Pennsylvania judge to temporarily block the start of construction on a controversial pipeline just three days after it received its final permits from state officials. The groups said construction of [...]

Mariner East 2 critics appeal new permits to Environmental Hearing Board

Three environmental groups on Tuesday challenged newly granted permits to Sunoco Logistics for the planned Mariner East 2 pipeline, urging Pennsylvania’s Environmental Hearing Board to block work on the line while the case is heard. Clean Air Council, Delaware Riverkeeper Network and the Mountain Watershed Association asked the board to issue a temporary order of [...]

Lawmaker calls DEP methane strategy a ‘blatant disregard’ of the law

A Republican state lawmaker is accusing Pennsylvania environmental regulators of overstepping their authority, as they attempt to limit climate-damaging methane leaks from shale gas sites. In a February 10 letter, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R- Butler) accuses Acting Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell of trying to sidestep a 35-year-old law, known as the Regulatory [...]

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 »