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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

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 [...]

Here’s the email that led to the resignation of Wolf’s environmental secretary

StateImpact Pennsylvania has obtained a copy of the email sent by Governor Tom Wolf’s environmental secretary, John Quigley, that led to his resignation Friday. “I’ve slept on this but can no longer hold back,” Quigley wrote. “Where the f*ck were you people yesterday? The House and Senate hold Russian show trials on vital environmental issues and there’s [...]

Pennsylvania still working on Clean Power Plan, but won’t meet deadline

While President Obama’s initiative to get states to cut carbon emissions — known as the Clean Power Plan — is being challenged in federal court by 24 states, Pennsylvania is still moving forward with its plans. Speaking to members of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Wednesday morning, state Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley said his [...]

PA expands particulate monitoring as federal study finds high level in one location

Pennsylvania is stepping up its monitoring of air contamination by fine particulates at sites near natural gas compressor stations. The move comes on the heels of a federal government study of one site in Susquehanna County, which found levels of the particulate matter known as PM2.5 that researchers say could be harmful for people who [...]

House panel votes to block drilling regulations

For the second time in less than a month, a House committee has voted to block tougher regulations aimed at Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry. It’s the latest move in the ongoing battle over the rules between the Republican-led legislature and Governor Tom Wolf’s Democratic administration. The state Department of Environmental Protection has been working to [...]

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