Saturday, June 27, 2020

Wolf Administration Comments On Grand Jury Report On Regulatory Failures During Natural Gas Fracking Boom

There have been many reactions to and comments on the Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s announcement of the Grand Jury Report on regulatory failuresPA Environment Digest will continue to post those comments as they are received so there can be an informed discussion of the issues raised in the Report--

The Wolf Administration issued this statement in response to the Grand Jury Report--

“Governor Tom Wolf shares the Attorney General’s commitment to upholding Pennsylvania’s constitutional promise of clean air, pure water, and to protecting public health. 

“The Wolf Administration inherited a flawed ideological approach to regulation of unconventional oil and gas development that was forced on the departments of Environmental Protection and Health by the Corbett Administration, which promoted the rapid expansion of natural gas development and profit above these other priorities. 

“The administration, acting through DEP and DOH, has taken steps from its first days in office to meet this commitment, implementing new environmental regulations, fighting for a reasonable severance tax on natural gas, increasing inspections of well sites, pipelines and other natural gas facilities, and promoting transparency and science-based decision-making on the health impacts of natural gas development.

“The vast majority of the issues highlighted in the report took place under the Corbett Administration. 

“This administration has acted aggressively to address the previous administration’s regulatory failures, remove restrictions on enforcement, and has put in place new regulations to hold natural gas companies to some of the most stringent environmental standards anywhere in the country in order to protect public health and the environment.

“This change in approach under the Wolf Administration immediately produced results. 

“In the four years of the Corbett Administration, DEP averaged 11,821 unconventional well inspections. In the Wolf Administration, this number has increased to 16,396 per year, a nearly 40 percent increase. 

“Last year there were over 18,500 inspections conducted, nearly 7,000 more than the last year of the prior administration. These inspections resulted in 3,636 citations for violations through 2019.

“Under Governor Wolf’s leadership, as of early 2020, DEP has issued more than $67.5 million in penalties to oil and gas companies polluting Pennsylvania’s land, water, and air. This total includes the largest civil penalty ever collected in a single settlement.

“The Department of Health has also undertaken efforts to promote transparency related to the potential health impacts of natural gas development. 

“This included removing Corbett Administration directives that prevented DOH from discussing complaints about fracking, establishing a transparent health registry, and more recently funding two research studies in partnership with an academic center to investigate health effects related to the natural gas industry, in particular as they pertain to confirmed cases of Ewing Sarcoma and other childhood cancers in southwestern Pennsylvania.

“Many of the recommendations in the report either mirror activities that the administration already has in place or it supports as additional actions by the legislature. We stand ready to assist helping the legislature in developing language to address the concerns raised by the report. 

“The governor is proud of the work done by both the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Health, and he stands by the secretaries and hardworking staff at both agencies as we continue to strongly support rigorous oversight and enforcement of the laws and regulations to protect the environment and public health. 

“The administration will continue its efforts to ensure that individuals or businesses that violate these laws and regulations are held accountable.”

Click Here For DEP’s response to the Report.  Click Here for the Health Department’s response.


-- AP-Mark Scolforo: AG Grand Jury Finds Systematic Regulatory Failures In Natural Gas Drilling

-- Don Hopey/Laura Legere: AG Shapiro: Grand Jury Report Reveals PA’s Systemic Failure To Regulate Shale Gas Industry

-- Stephen Caruso: AG Shapiro Calls Out Gas Drillers; Faults PA Agencies For Not Adequately Watchdogging The Industry

-- Frank Kummer: AG Releases Scathing Grand Jury Report On Fracking Industry, State Regulators

-- Reid Frazier/Susan Phillips: PA Grand Jury Report On Fracking: DEP Failed To Protect Public Health

-- Charlie Thompson: PA Attorney General’s Report Highlights Shortfalls In State’s Marcellus Shale Oversight

-- Grand Jury: State Failed To Protect Public From Fracking

-- Grand Jury Report Blasts DEP, Health Department Over Fracking Failures In PA

-- WITF Smart Talk: Attorney General On Police Reforms, Fracking, Child Abuse

-- AG Shapiro: Grand Jurors Praised For Report On Fracking Impacts, Govt. Oversight

Related Links:

-- Click Here For DEP’s response to the Report 

-- Click Here for the Health Department’s response to the Report

Related Articles:

-- AG Shapiro: Grand Jury Finds Pennsylvania Failed To Protect Citizens During Natural Gas Fracking Boom

-- Attorney General Shapiro: Opening Statement, Grand Jury Report On Regulatory Failures During Natural Gas Fracking Boom

-- Reactions/Comments: Grand Jury Report On Regulatory Failures During Natural Gas Fracking Boom

[Posted: June 27, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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