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Grand jury finds failures in Pa. agencies regulating natural gas drilling


A grand jury investigation into Pennsylvania’s natural gas drilling industry found government agencies overseeing the industry failed to protect residents.The report released Thursday by Attorney General Josh Shapiro came after two years of investigation in the state’s Marcellus Shale exploration industry.The investigation uncovered systematic failures in state departments regulating that industry, Shapiro said.According to the report, the state Department of Environmental Protection and Health Department failed to police or investigate environmental complaints, failed to collect health data and failed to warn the public when they were at risk.Shapiro said grand jurors heard detailed testimony from community members who alleged health impacts as a result of living near drilling sites.“Our government has a duty to set, and enforce, ground rules that protect public health and safety. We are the referees, we are here to prevent big corporations and the powerful industries from harming our communities or running over the rights of citizens. When it comes to fracking, Pennsylvania failed,” Shapiro said. The report had the following eight recommendations for better protecting the public and regulating the industry:Expanding no-drill zones in Pennsylvania from the required 500 feet to 2,500 feet.Requiring fracking companies to publicly disclose all chemicals used in drilling and hydraulic fracturing before they are used on site.Requiring the regulation of gathering lines, used to transport unconventional gas hundreds of miles.Adding up all sources of air pollution in a given area to accurately assess air quality.Requiring safer transport of the contaminated waste created from fracking sites.Conducting a comprehensive health response to the effects of living near unconventional drilling sites.Limiting the ability of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection employees to be employed in the private sector immediately after leaving the Department.Allowing the attorney general original criminal jurisdiction over unconventional oil and gas companies.

A grand jury investigation into Pennsylvania’s natural gas drilling industry found government agencies overseeing the industry failed to protect residents.

The report released Thursday by Attorney General Josh Shapiro came after two years of investigation in the state’s Marcellus Shale exploration industry.

The investigation uncovered systematic failures in state departments regulating that industry, Shapiro said.

According to the report, the state Department of Environmental Protection and Health Department failed to police or investigate environmental complaints, failed to collect health data and failed to warn the public when they were at risk.

Shapiro said grand jurors heard detailed testimony from community members who alleged health impacts as a result of living near drilling sites.

“Our government has a duty to set, and enforce, ground rules…



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2020-06-25 18:33:42

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