DEP Penalty Approval Process For Drilling Violations Is Impractical And Unacceptable

Senator Lisa Baker issued the following statement regarding the newly announced DEP penalty approval process:

“During a recent hearing, I asked the officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection about the consistency of their inspections and enforcement actions relative to the gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

Judging from their newly disclosed policy, it is not clear whether they misunderstood the question or mishandled the response.

This “signoff” policy, as it has been reported, is impractical and unacceptable. I communicated my position to DEP today. If their intent is different from the public impression of the policy, they need to move very quickly to clarify the purpose and explain how it would serve the public interest.

In my district, drilling is taking place in areas that are environmentally sensitive and in places close to critical watersheds. As more inspectors are deployed to monitor more drilling sites, I want to ensure there is comparable thoroughness to the inspections and consistent application of penalties for violations. Nothing in that suggests the need for any sort of upper-level clearance process.”

Contact: Jennifer Wilson
(570) 675-3931

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