Victory or Red Herring?

DEP Rolls Back Approval Process for Shale Violations
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
SOURCE: Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The state Department of Environmental Protection has completely rolled back a controversial, 5-week-old procedural change that required all field enforcement actions involving Marcellus Shale gas drilling operations be pre-approved by political appointees in Harrisburg.

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Certainly this is good news, since we had a right to the information the PA DEP would have withheld in the first place. We pay for it with our tax dollars. But is it really a victory to have something rightfully restored when it was wrongfully taken in the first place?

Here’s a statistic worth considering: Since January 1, 2011, the PA DEP has approved a whopping 956 permits, with a large majority in the Upper Delaware Watershed Region. Makes one wonder if their primary function is regulating threats to the environment or issuing permits? They don’t really care about NOVs. They’re gonna slap wrists and fines, either way. It’s a RED HERRING. It seems like their first interest is creating a profitable disposal route for recycled (distilled) flowback, and mitigating environmental impacts or protecting the public wellfare from the drilling itself comes second.

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