National Panel: PA DEP Oversight of Key Marcellus Technology “Merits Special Recognition”

Findings highlight how Pa. continues to lead the way in safe, responsible use of hydraulic fracturing

Canonsburg, Pa. – Pennsylvania officials’ oversight and regulation of hydraulic fracturing, a critical technology for producing abundant reserves of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, is among the strongest in the nation. That’s the message delivered by a national board of state regulatory officials, industry experts and environmental stakeholders in the form of a new report from the non-profit group STRONGER, the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations.

“Hydraulic fracturing has long been an important technology in producing energy here in Pennsylvania,” said Kathryn Klaber, president and executive director of the Marcellus Shale Coalition. “But at no point in its history has it been more important than right now. Thanks to the well-stimulation process, natural gas that would otherwise be too deep and too difficult to access suddenly isn’t – which means more energy, more jobs, and more revenue for state and local governments. But we know the process has to remain safe to remain effective. And so that’s why we continue to work with state regulators to ensure that our environment and groundwater are protected. The work done by DEP is incredibly important and done tremendously well, and this study confirms that.”

“The review team found that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has a well-managed program,” said Lori Wrotenbery, the chair of the STRONGER review panel and a senior official with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. “In fact, we believe several aspects of the Department of Environmental Protection and its operations merit special recognition.” A copy of STRONGER’s press release can be accessed here.

The Pennsylvania hydraulic fracturing regulatory program was singled out for its operations in the following areas: comprehensive water planning; baseline water sampling and water studies; prevention, preparedness and contingency planning; waste identification, tracking and reporting; and increasing staffing levels, according to the STRONGER statement.

NOTE: According to STRONGER, “hydraulic fracturing has been used in Pennsylvania since the 1950s. Since the 1980s, nearly all wells drilled in Pennsylvania have been fractured. Although thousands of wells have been fractured in Pennsylvania, DEP has not identified any instances where groundwater has been contaminated by hydraulic fracturing.” Click HERE to view this study on-line.