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DEP seeks input on overhaul of drilling regulations at midstate hearing

Written by Marie Cusick/StateImpact Pennsylvania | Jan 16, 2014 4:08 AM
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Photo by Tim Lambert/witf

(Undated) -- A public hearing is slated to be held in the midstate this evening concerning the state Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed changes to regulations governing natural gas drillers.

The proposal would change the way the industry operates above ground.

The rules devised by the DEP would set new standards for running temporary pipelines, dealing with spills and storing wastes.

Many of the new requirements were set by the state's drilling law, Act 13.

At a recent public hearing in Williamsport, environmentalist Nadia Steinzor told state regulators she's disappointed they did not ban drillers from burying solid waste.

“They certainly shouldn’t be left behind in the ground or in open pits in people’s backyards," she said. "It’s just unacceptable and it’s not regulation.”

Act 13 also required the DEP to consider impacts to public resources like parks, but that part of the law was recently struck down by the state Supreme Court.

Now, Scott Perry, who heads up the DEP's oil and gas program, says the agency's hands are tied.

“I think it’s going to be a benefit to Pennsylvanians when we are able to finalize the rule, provided of course that the Supreme Court actually reverses its decision where it actually struck down those provisions as unconstitutional," he said. "I think they made a mistake.”

The hearing will be held at 6:00 p.m. at the Good Hope Middle School Auditorium in Mechanicsburg Cumberland County.

This story comes from our StateImpact Pennsylvania project, a collaboration between witf and WHYY in Philadelphia to report on the commonwealth's energy economy.

 

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