The DEP Needs Overhauled When it Comes To Fracking
Last night as I was reading an article on DEP fines and punishments or the lack there of, there was one part that stuck out;
It is the DEP’s practice to track environmental violations on construction projects and calculate a fine when construction is complete.
That might not have impacted me as much as it did except, at the bottom of the article this paragraph put it into perspective;
The company racked up at least 45 environmental violations in Pike County for worksite conditions that had a potential for water pollution or actually created water pollution from disturbed soil being washed into pristine streams.
So I did a little more research and came across some disturbing facts that point to the DEP and its Chief, Michael Krancer. An appointee of (I Love Fracking) Governor Tom Corbett.
It seems that since Michael Krancer joined the Corbett Fracking Booster Club, actual punishments against drilling companies and companies contributing to the Hydraulic Fracturing Industry have all but disappeared.
It became apparent Krancer was on the side of the industry and less for the people of the state when this order was issued to DEP field agents.
No environmental violations related to drilling in the Marcellus Shale may be issued without personal approval from Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Environmental Protection Mike Krancer, according to internal DEP emails.
The two-line email from executive deputy secretary John Hines to regional directors says “effective immediately” any actions, notices of violation and such must get the approval of the deputy secretaries with final clearance from Krancer.
“I need to repeat,” wrote Hines, “no final actions are to be taken unless approval comes from Dana and I with clearance from Mike. Any waiver from this directive will not be acceptable.”
When this email was leaked it was extremely embarrassing to the DEP, however it was out there and the agents were following it to the letter.
Indeed, enforcement has fallen by the wayside under Krancer’s watch.
“More than 9 out of every 10 violations by Marcellus Shale gas drilling companies resulted in no fines from DEP,” a report by the environmental group Clean Water Action concluded, based on a review of enforcement statistics from 2011.
“In fact, a larger percent of violations are going unpunished now than in any of the past 10 years,” another report, by Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project, found after reviewing enforcement actions by the DEP up to April 2012. That report also found that even though drilling had slowed slightly in the state as natural gas prices plunged, the number of environmental violations by drillers has remained high.
As he spoke to drillers at the conference, Mr. Krancer was enthused about what he termed a “juggernaut of jobs” that could come from drilling in Pennsylvania. But in his enthusiasm, he seemed prone to an exaggerated take on the industry’s potential.
It seems they don’t mind doing what it takes to keep the money from the drillers coming whether it is lying about water test, or to those in the Industry.