Thursday, July 24, 2014

Auditor general criticizes DEP oversight of shale gas industry and the DEP goes into damage control mode.

Auditor general criticizes DEP oversight of shale gas industry


By Laura Legere / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/07/22/Auditor-General-criticizes-DEP-oversight-of-shale-gas-industry/stories/201407220147#ixzz38M8yzkO9

MY COMMENT: This report serves to emphasize the immediate need for a statewide moratorium on unconventional shale gas drilling/high volume-slick water hydraulic fracturing (aka: fracking) until comprehensive independent public health and environmental studies can be completed, peer reviewed, and publicly discussed, and if these studies can not produce evidence that this extreme fossil fuel extraction process can be done safely, then it needs to be banned. PA ran recklessly head-on, with eyes closed into this development and rolled the dice on public health and safety, as well as our environment and they lost. Clearly, the PADEP is still woefully, if not willfully unprepared to manage, regulate, control, or even efficiently monitor this industrial practice, let alone protect the people in it's path. Last year, the democrat party of PA voted overwhelmingly in favor of a statewide moratorium. Unfortunately, only one democrat gubernatorial candidate was willing to support that resolution. Now, with the evidence revealed in the Auditor General's report, and the newly released documents that clearly state that the gas industry has damaged PA water supplies at least 209 times, and with at least 161 "documented" cases by the DEP of people's well water being contaminated from gas drilling - as discovered via a right-to-know request, and over a thousand more cases still being reviewed, the case for a statewide moratorium becomes even more compelling. The democratic nominee for governor, Tom Wolf instead of institutionalizing fracking in PA by imposing a severance tax that will only create another cash cow for the state to rely on, needs to pay attention to these reports and support his party's resolution. No amount of tax revenue is worth sacrificing the health and safety of rural Pennsylvanians and their children. Tom Corbett's chances for re-election are practically non-existent. Therefore, we need for every registered voter -democrat, republican, independent, to flood Tom Wolf's with calls and emails demanding he do the right thing and embrace the precautionary principle, by agreeing sign a statewide moratorium, and if fracking can not be proven safe, agree to a ban. It's not just the right thing to do, it's also the smart thing to do. The cost of fracking in terms of health care, property loss, environmental clean-up, is going to be catastrophic. Not to mention the permanent jobs that are being lost in tourism, agriculture, forestry, real estate, and new home construction due to the industrialization of rural PA. Renewable energy will create permanent, family sustaining, good paying local jobs in manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and system upgrades, while not poisoning our water supply, polluting our air, or threatening the health and safety of our families.

Yet, somehow, the PADEP is trying to "spin" this into some bizarre vindication of their performance. It's almost as if they read a completely different report!

Here's their headline on the DEP website:
Auditor General Performance Report Validates DEP’s Work Regarding Unconventional Gas Drilling Activities 7/22/2014
The Auditor General’s Office today released the Special Audit of DEP’s Performance in Monitoring Potential Impact to Water Quality from Shale Gas Development for the period 2009 through 2012, finding no instances where DEP failed to protect public health, safety or the environment.
 
However, the DEP failed to include the actual 158 page report.
You can download and read the entire 158 page report by going to this link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1227039/dep-response-to-auditor-general-report.pdf

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