PA DEP Secretary John Hanger Summons Marcellus Shale Drilling Companies to a May Meeting

PA DEP Sec. John Hanger The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is summoning all Marcellus gas drillers operating in Pennsylvania to meeting. MDN wouldn’t exactly use the term “mandatory attendance required” to describe the meeting, but reading between the lines it certainly seems that way.

MDN welcomes the DEP keeping a close eye on drillers, especially in the aftermath of Dimock. However, the tone of the press release is confrontational and bullyish, rather than collaborative and respectful.

From the official DEP summons press release:

HARRISBURG—Department of Environmental [Protection] Secretary John Hanger announced today that he has called a meeting of oil and gas companies with permits to drill in the Marcellus Shale to discuss what steps the industry must take to prevent gas migrating from wells and polluting Pennsylvania’s natural resources, which can create a public safety risk.

The meeting will be held on May 13 in Harrisburg.

“The Department of Environmental Protection has a constitutional and statutory obligation to protect Pennsylvania’s environment. That right is not for sale and is not subject to compromise,” said Hanger.

“Drilling for natural gas beneath our soil can be done responsibly without putting the citizens of Pennsylvania, their property or livelihoods at risk,” added Hanger. “I am urging the industry to come and discuss how to effectively and safely prevent gas migration, protect our natural resources, and ensure that what happened to the residents of Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, does not happen elsewhere.”

Last week, DEP took further action against Cabot Oil & Gas Inc. after it failed to address migrating gas discovered in 2009 from drilling operations that contaminated groundwater and the drinking water supplies of 14 homes in the region.

“Gas migration is unacceptable and the department is taking every precaution necessary to address this issue to protect our citizens and their communities,”   Hanger added. “In addition to increased oversight, the department has proposed tougher regulations to meet the growing demand and new drilling technologies including improving well construction standards to protect from gas migration.”

PA DEP Press Release (Apr 20) – DEP to Meet With Drilling Companies to Discuss Ways to Prevent Dangerous Gas Migration Situations, Safeguard Homes, Water Supplies