DEP’s Hydraulic Fracturing Program Earns Acclaim

The independent, non-profit stakeholder organization STRONGER (State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations, Inc.) called Pennsylvania’s hydraulic fracturing oversight program “well-managed, professional and meeting its program objectives” in a new report issued this week. The organization’s evaluation was conducted by members of environmental organizations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, drilling programs in other states, and representatives of natural gas companies.

The evaluation said the program was particularly strong in its approach to planning for and managing water uses; monitoring water quality before drilling takes place; tracking and reporting waste generated by drilling operations; and requiring that drillers be prepared in the event of an emergency. The report also recognized DEP’s work to increase staff levels in the Oil and Gas Management bureau—adding more than 100 employees in the last two years, which nearly doubled the bureau’s complement.

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