Pennsylvania Auditor: State Department of Environmental Protection Was Unprepared For Shale Industry's Growth
The Pennsylvania auditor general on Tuesday confirmed what was never up for debate for environmental groups and residents—the state was unprepared for the growth of the shale gas industry.
"(The audit) shows that the meteoric growth of the shale gas industry caught the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) unprepared to effectively administer laws and regulations to protect drinking water and unable to efficiently respond to citizen complaints,” Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said.
None of that is lost on environmental groups. It's why they began vetting gubernatorial candidates months ago to see who would stand up against fracking and why they weren't surprised to learn about a fracking company trying to buy approval from residents.
"The auditor general has confirmed what Pennsylvania residents have long been saying and experiencing: The impacts of gas development are real, intense, and not being addressed," said Nadia Steinzor of Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project. "DEP and the legislature can start putting the public interest first by adopting the report's recommendations, dedicating more resources to enforcement, and working more closely with communities to solve problems than they do with industry."
Aside from the lack of regulations to protect people from the impacts of fracking, the audit also details how ineffective the state's complaint tracking system has been. Among other things, it failed to provide management with reliable information.
"The Auditor General's inspection is not just a capture of deficiencies within the agency in present time but a call to the future to take actions that will improve agency policies and operations so that public confidence in the agency can be restored and we can better protect drinking water & public health", said Steve Hvozdovich, Marcellus Shale Policy associate for Clean Water Action.
DePasquale said he made 29 suggestions to the DEP, with the agency disagreeing with only seven. One recommendation that seems basic is to evaluate the self-reported waste data from drillers, haulers and disposal facilities related to shale drilling to ensure proper disposal.
“Finally the fundamental flaws in the DEP’s management of the impacts from shale gas development have come to light," said Nick Kennedy, a community advocate for Mountain Watershed Association. "The auditor general’s report vindicates the ever growing chorus of voices that have been calling on the DEP for years to reform its practices, and for sufficient funding for adequate staffing.
"Having devoted significant resources to combat the impacts of water contamination, bureaucratic delay and flawed information on the communities we serve, we hope this report sparks real change in shale extraction oversight."
- Singapore Will Plant One Million Trees by 2030 - EcoWatch ›
- Australia to Build the World's Largest Solar Farm to Power Singapore ›
- Giant Water Battery Cuts University's Energy Costs by $100 Million ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Tara Lohan
In 1999 a cheering crowd watched as a backhoe breached a hydroelectric dam on Maine's Kennebec River. The effort to help restore native fish populations and the river's health was hailed as a success and ignited a nationwide movement that spurred 1,200 dam removals in two decades.
Transmission lines from the Churchill Falls generating station in Labrador. Douglas Spott / CC BY-NC 2.0
Atlantic sturgeon were brought to the brink of extension in the 20th century and are now are listed as an endangered species. NOAA
Near Happy Valley-Goose Bay on the Churchill (Grand) River downstream from Muskrat Falls. Douglas Sprott / CC BY-NC 2.0
Construction of the Site C dam in British Columbia in 2017. Jason Woodhead / CC BY 2.0
The Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island is the first U.S. offshore wind farm. Dennis Schroeder / NREL / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
We pet owners know how much you love your pooch. It's your best friend. It gives you pure happiness and comfort when you're together. But there are times that dogs can be very challenging, especially if they are suffering from a certain ailment. As a dog owner, all you want to do is ease whatever pain or discomfort your best friend is feeling.
The excess carbon dioxide emitted by human activity since the start of the industrial revolution has already raised the Earth's temperature by more than one degree Celsius, increased the risk of extreme hurricanes and wildfires and killed off more than half of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef. But geologic history shows that the impacts of greenhouse gases could be much worse.
- Earth Is Hurtling Towards a Catastrophe Worse Than the Dinosaur ... ›
- Are We Doomed If We Don't Curb Carbon Emissions by 2030 ... ›
- Humans Release 40 to 100x More CO2 Than Volcanoes, Major ... ›
By Teri Schultz
Europe is in a panic over the second wave of COVID-19, with infection rates sky-rocketing and GDP plummeting. Belgium has just announced it will no longer test asymptomatic people, even if they've been in contact with someone who has the disease, because the backlog in processing is overwhelming. Other European countries are also struggling to keep up testing and tracing.
Meanwhile in a small cabin in Helsinki airport, for his preferred payment of a morsel of cat food, rescue dog Kossi needs just a few seconds to tell whether someone has coronavirus.