Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Senate Republicans Pass Bill Taking ‘Protection’ Out Of The Name Of Department Of Environmental Protection; But DEP Doesn’t Have To Change Its Signs Until They Wear Out

On June 7, Senate Republicans passed
Senate Bill 691 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) dropping ‘Protection’ from the name of the Department of Environmental Protection and changing it to the Department of Environmental Services.

The bill was passed in a party-line vote of 28 to 22, Republicans supporting

Before passage, the bill was amended with provisions Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Committee, said would provide for a “slow transition.”

The bill now says--

-- Signs on buildings and other locations “may not” be changed until they wear out;

-- The agency name on badges, licenses, contracts, deeds, stationary and any other officials documents will not be affected until supplies run out;

-- DEP may substitute the new name on documents and materials on a scheduled it deems appropriate;

-- The name on existing licenses, contracts, deeds and other officials documents will not be affected; and

-- Computer systems are not affected by the name change until routine upgrades are made.

In explaining the need to change the name of DEP, Sen. Yaw said previously--

“The word “protection” carries a law enforcement or security connotation rather than that of an environmental resource and partner to the citizens of Pennsylvania. 

“Unfortunately, enforcer has become the prevalent view of the department, overshadowing other work which is detrimental to an open relationship between the citizenry and their government regarding environmental issues.  

“Emphasizing that this department is focused on “services” will be a huge step forward in instituting a needed culture change. 

“This name change will have no effect on the jurisdiction or enforcement obligations of the department.” 

The bill now goes to the House for action.

DEP Reforms/Changes:

-- Gov. Shapiro’s Budget Proposes Major Initiative To Speed Up DEP Permit Reviews/ Inspections; Double Oil & Gas Fund Investment In State Parks/Forests Infrastructure  [PaEN]

-- DEP Budget Testimony: Increasing Permitting Efficiency, Cleaning Up Legacy Pollution, Investing In Communities, Holding Companies Accountable  [PaEN]

-- DEP Offers 10 Point Plan To Improve Permit Reviews; Climate/Energy Work Group Co-Chairs Announced; Work Group Formed To Prevent New Oil & Gas Well Abandonments  [PaEN]

-- DEP Acting Secretary Wants To Encourage A Culture Of Being User-Friendly At DEP And Used The Train Derailment Response As An Example  [PaEN]

-- DEP Acting Secretary Negrin: All Climate Change Is Local - We Are Guardians Of Our Neighborhoods, We Are To Act In Service To Our Neighbors  [PaEN]

-- House Budget Hearing: Acting DEP Secretary Outlines His Views On Environmental Justice, Announces Fernando Treviño As Special Deputy For Environmental Justice  [PaEN]

DEP-Related Compliance Actions Since January:

-- DEP Signs Consent Order Including $10 Million In Penalties, Local Payments With Shell Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County To Resolve Air Quality Violations; Plant To Restart May 24

-- How Chesapeake Appalachia Created Another New Shale Gas Brownfield In Bradford County; Timberline Energy Plugs Its Abandoned Conventional Gas Wells In Venango County

-- EPA/DEP: Eastman Chemical Resins, Inc. To Pay $2.4 Million Penalty For Multiple Environmental Violations In Allegheny County

-- Attorney General Henry Charges 2 With Criminal Risking Catastrophe Charges Related To Work On Natural Gas Pipeline In Lawrence County; Pipelines Have Worst Environmental Compliance Record In PA

-- DEP Moves To Enforce Order To Plug 4 Abandoned Conventional Gas Wells Leaking Methane In Allegheny County Owned By Michael Harju & Economy Natural Gas, Inc.

-- Struggle To Plug Tatonka Oil Co. LLC’s Nancy 13 Conventional Well Leaking Gas, Production Wastewater Since 2018; Citizen Complaint Finds ‘Bubbling’ Gas Well

-- Citizen Complaint, Company Report Results In DEP Inspection Finding 63,000 Gallon Wastewater Spill At Seneca Resources Shale Gas Well On State Game Lands In Elk County; More Leaks, Spills

-- Citizen Complaint Results In Discovery Of An Unreported Crude Oil Spill Affecting Over 2,400 Feet Of Stream At A Cameron Energy Conventional Well Site In Forest County

-- Chesapeake Appalachia: DEP Inspections Find Violations For Spills, Releases, Continuing Defective Casing/Cementing At Shale Gas Well Pads In Bradford, Susquehanna Counties

-- How Chesapeake Appalachia Created Another New Shale Gas Brownfield In Bradford County; Timberline Energy Plugs Its Abandoned Conventional Gas Wells In Venango County

-- DEP Inspection Finds Two Repsol Oil & Gas Shale Gas Wells Venting Natural Gas To Atmosphere, Defective Well Casing/Cementing In Susquehanna County; Violations Continue From May 2017

-- Conventional Oil & Gas Well Owners Failed To File Annual Production/Waste Generation Reports For 61,655 Wells; Attorney General Continues Investigation Of Road Dumping Wastewater

-- DEP Issued 754 Notices Of Violation For Defective Oil & Gas Well Casing, Cementing, The Fundamental Protection Needed To Prevent Gas Migration, Groundwater & Air Contamination, Explosions

-- Attorney General Files Criminal Charges Against Dallas Area Authority, Luzerne County For Dumping Millions Of Gallons Of Untreated Wastewater Into Toby Creek

PA Oil & Gas Public Notice Dashboards:

-- MarkWest Liberty Midstream Files To Clean Up 10,000 Gallon Natural Gas Condensate Spill Caused By December’s Winter Storm Elliot Freeze In Washington County  [PaEN] 

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - June 3 to 9:   Plugged Conventional Well Frack-Out; 10 More NOVs For Abandoning Conventional Wells  [PaEN] 

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - June 10   [PaEN]

-- DEP Posts 51 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In June 10 PA Bulletin  [PaEN] 


-- PennLive - Jan Murphy: PA Senate Approves New Name For DEP In Hopes Of A ‘Culture Change’

Related Articles This Week:

-- Citizens Voice Editorial: ‘Protection’ Still Core Of DEP’s Job  [PaEN]

-- DEP Citizens Advisory Council Meets June 13 To Hear Acting DEP Secretary Negrin Outline His Vision For Changing DEP; Enforcement, Customer Service Strategies; Permit Review Changes; Environmental Justice Plans; More   [PaEN]

-- House Committee Reports Out Bill Requiring The Evaluation Of Cumulative Impacts Of Some New Pollution Sources On Communities Already Burdened By Pollution; And Other Bills  [PaEN]

-- Republicans, Shale Gas Industry Oppose House Bill Requiring The Evaluation Of Cumulative Impacts Of Some New Pollution Sources On Communities Already Burdened By Pollution  [PaEN]

-- Inside Climate News: Abandoned Conventional Oil/Natural Gas Wells Emit Carcinogens, Other Harmful Pollutants In PA, Study Shows  [PaEN]

[Posted: June 7, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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