PA DEP Extra $2.5M for 33 Hires Will NOT Go to O&G Program

DEP Sec. Pat McDonnell

As we point out in a companion story today, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) needs fixing, and the PA House has a plan to do it (see PA House Considers “Fix DEP” Bills at Hearing on March 13). Perhaps fearing at least some of the House initiatives may bear fruit, a few weeks ago DEP Secretary Pat McDonnell proffered his own plan to fix his agency–spend an extra $2.5 million to hire 33 new full-time employees to assist in the permit review process (see PA DEP Says $2.5M Will Fix Chronic Drilling Permit Delays). However, there’s a teeny tiny problem with that. According to the February quarterly meeting held between the DEP and oil and gas industry, all of those 33 (or 35, depending on the source) positions would be hired for the safe drinking water program, NOT for the oil and gas program. So McDonnell’s statements about the reason for the new positions and increase in budget are misleading at best…

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