What can We The PA People do better to Ensure Gas Drilling Benefits All?

On May 2, the PA House Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing about
Shale Gas Drilling, Human Health, and the Environment, in Harrisburg.

Gas Policy Hearing

Gas Policy Hearing

Following are the summaries of testimony and statements from the meeting I’ve Tweeted @stevenwtodd.

Per Rep Vitali: DCNR Sec Allen, DEP Sec Abruzzo, DEP O&G permitting chief Scott Perry & former DEP Exec John Hines invited, declined.

Per Jay Duffy, Clean Air Council: DEP declines to model compressor fugitive emissions, but have been shown to yield significant effect. fugutuve emission rates as high as 8% have been found. Life cycle emissions may be higher, per EPA

Per John Hanger, former DEP Secretary and candidate for Governor: Agencies should make themselves available to public meetings such as these. I was as DEP Sec. DEPs job inevitably leads to stepping on some big toes. I’ve received such calls as DEP Sec. Regulatory staff and fees must grow with O&G permits. Have not since Governor Corbett in. Should continue moratorium in State Forests, example #Loyalsock. No impact fee would be enough. We should repeal the medical gag rule and compensate damages at twice property value. We all behave better when watched, it’s human nature. That’s why there are bosses and parents. At least a 50% staff increase from 2010 required for O&G. Air program particularly understaffed

Per Joe Osborne, GASP: PA has gone from 286 to over 6,000 unconventional gas well sites. Impacts on air as much as water. Fugitive gas emissions are adding to already significant ozone problem in PA. Regulatory policy & reporting exemptions OK for conventional drilling, not horizontal fracking. DEP willing to do the right thing, but too little, too late on common sense cost effective measures.

Per Bernie Goldstein: PA Dept of Health nationally reknown able to monitor O&G effect on human, animals, haven’t been asked. O&G alone is exempt from monitoring & reporting. That is wrong, and you (legislature) can change it. PA gives its Governor more power than any other state. We are dead last in staffing Dept of Health. PA Dept of Health gets no funding from impact fee. If they were funded, they would do normal things.

Per Jill Kreisky: Physicians are seeing patients, and they don’t know what’s going on w symptoms from apparent O&G effects.

Per Thomas Au, Sierra Club PA : DEP won’t disclose contaminants or actions to 25 homes’ wells contaminated by O&G requested. DEP should conduct mandatory O&G baseline pre-drill water testing. DEP has been extremely tight-lipped with information about well testing or procedures.

Per Kevin Heatley, RDA: I can live anywhere, I choose to live in Lycoming, PA. My sons can’t wait to leave, due to O&G. Forest value will accrue over time, versus drilling value goes down. Cost:Benefits ignore value. No comprehensive analysis done on contiguous forest. Impact of clearing land is 300′ beyond. Need to control rate of permitting per decade to allow recovery and ban interior O&G development.

Per Lauren Williams, Curtin & Heefner: Restore local zoning control over O&G, as with every other Industrial land use.


About steventodd

Both parties are broken by big money...what to do? I'm a dad, husband, son, taxpayer, voter, civil engineer, reporter, blogger, rabble-rouser and honest guy.
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5 Responses to What can We The PA People do better to Ensure Gas Drilling Benefits All?

  1. wlee7 says:

    Here’s how we insure gas drilling benefits all: we BAN it.

    We decide that we value our futures enough to act to make sure there IS a future. We decide once and for all that we are going to do everything we can to slow the speeding train that is climate change.
    THAT project is patently inconsistent with the continuation of fracking, mountain top removal, and tar sands extraction.
    It is inconsistent with the “endless resource” view that describes our behavior–even as we deny this fact. We decide we have had enough of the environmental discrimination that benefits a tiny few a great great deal–at the expense to health and life of so many others.

    We decide that we care about the BEAUTY of or forests, our wetlands, and our waterways.

    We decide we want a democracy instead of a corporate dictatorship.

    There is no benefit to anyone–not even the very wealthy–of extreme extraction that can even conceivably outweigh the costs.

    If we want a future for our kids that is something more than the vanquished wasteland we are preparing to leave them, we decide to say NO to the fossil industrialization of our state, our regions, and our world.

    Wendy Lynne Lee


  2. steventodd says:

    Thanks Wendy. It was nice seeing you at the hearing in Williamsport. Good comments; iInfinite resources on a finite planet is 100% illogical, but it is even more important to disempower non-human corporate entities from decisions that affect humans.


  3. RuralBoy says:

    Ban it.


  4. wlee7 says:

    Hi Steve–I’m not quite sure I am following. When you say it is more important to disempower corporations, I’d argue that these two projects are just two sides of the same coin. Banning extreme extraction will have precisely THAT effect since it is precisely THESE corporations which need to be disempowered (among others–all intimately connected to Big Energy in one way or another). These are projects so intimately wedded to each other that I cannot imagine a livable future without accomplishing them both. Moreover, putting the question in the way this piece does–how can shale gas benefit everyone–offers BALM to the corporations in that they’ll be MORE THAN HAPPY to tell us how they’re benefitting us–all the while they continue business as usual, poisoning our water and land and air.

    So “Ban It” is ONE answer, but it is also the ONLY answer if what you REALLY want is to disempower these corporations.



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