The Department of Environmental Protection announced today it was revoking permits at three gas drilling sites as a result of legal challenges filed by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in August and September. CBF challenged the permits contending violations of both Commonwealth and federal laws.
“We are glad DEP saw the merit of our challenges and agreed to revoke these permits,” said CBF Pennsylvania Attorney Matthew Royer. “But these victories alone are not enough to ensure protection of our wetlands and streams as further drilling activity proceeds across Pennsylvania. DEP must change its policy of rubber stamping applications without technical review. Until then, we will continue to challenge permits that put our natural resources at risk.”
In April, DEP stripped review authority from local County Conservation Districts and it instituted an expedited stormwater permitting process that does not allow for public participation or meaningful agency review of permit applications. In a press release announcing the permit revocation, DEP acknowledged “numerous technical deficiencies discovered after our approval of the permits.”
“The technical deficiency findings announced by DEP today are exactly the reason why a permit process without technical review is fundamentally flawed,” Royer said. “DEP should end its policy of issuing permits without technical review and restore authority to the Conservation Districts, which have the local knowledge and experience to conduct such reviews.”
The revoked permits were for Ultra Resources Inc. operations in Gaines and Elk Townships in Tioga County, and Pike and Abbott townships in Potter County, and Fortuna Energy Inc. permits in Ward and Jackson townships in Tioga County.