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

  • Paul CometX NYC

    MDN wrote: However, the tone of the press release is confrontational and bullyish, rather than collaborative and respectful.

    We see nothing of the sort. MDN needs to stop being a “drill at any cost” hag.

  • Elizabeth

    I couldn’t agree more, Paul. This newsletter comes to my inbox because I think it’s important to get perspectives from all sides. After a few months of reading this “information” that is written with language that is intended to rile a pro-drilling audience, I find myself wondering which gas companies are sending this person a paycheck.

    I can’t wait until my small town, where I own over a hundred acres of land that has been in my family for over 100 years has gas hovering in a haze over it and our water has been poisoned. When the gas companies pull up stakes when they have raped our landscape for every last drop, we’ll all enjoy the mess left behind while they count their billions.

  • Jim

    Thanks for the comments Paul & Elizabeth. We will have to agree to disagree. I see a distinct change in tone coming from the DEP and have said as much. If you don’t think so, oh well!

    And to reiterate, this is a blog. It is my “take” on what’s happening in the industry. I try to make it useful for a wide audience, but my perspective is that of what is useful and beneficial to landowners, and people who would be affected by drilling. I also try to be fair and honest–but again, it’s from my viewpoint.

    I’m not blind to nor naive about potential problems with drilling, and I am not a “drill at any cost” person. I view this blog as a counter to the “don’t drill at any cost” meme. My philosophy is, “Let’s drill, but let’s do it safely.” I believe it can be done.

    And no, I get no money at from drilling companies. To date, this blog is a labor of love (no revenue!), although I reserve the right to put advertising on it at some point.

    I would be sorry to lose you both as readers–I always welcome thoughtful contrary viewpoints–but fair warning: This blog is what it is.

  • rfscala

    Jim, don’t change a thing. I enjoy this blog exactly the way it is.
    Based on the content of Paul and Elizabeth’s comments, they would prefer you changed your style to that of ProPublica (some real good reporting there – ha ha)
    Your views seem to coincide with those of most marcellus landowners I know. We want it, we need it, and we have been working diligently to make sure it happens as safely as possible.
    By the way, I get accused of being a gas company employee all the time, which couldn’t be further from the truth. But when they can’t come up with fact they start slinging lies.

  • Jim

    rfscala, thanks for your kind words of encouragement. They mean a lot.

  • Pingback: PA DEP Secretary Hanger Summons Marcellus Shale Drillers to Meeting, Asks Them to Comply with Unratified New Drilling Rules | Marcellus Drilling News()

  • Jmari

    Bravo, Mr. Hanger, for serving the residents, and endeavoring to protect the environment, of Dimock and the Commonwealth. This is the strong representation that taypayers require from its representatives in Harrisburg! Thank you.