AG Grand Jury Findings Validate Residents Mistrust of the DEP and Operators

Posted Jun 25, 2020, by Veronica Coptis


Many residents that we’ve worked with for over a decade were told by state officials and oil and gas operators that drilling and fracking were safe. Community members living next to these heavily industrial operations were rightly skeptical. The Grand Jury investigations have revealed that on at least two sites, Range failed to protect the surrounding residents and the environment. The Grand Jury’s investigation also revealed that the Department of Environmental Protection, the agency responsible for regulating oil and gas operations and protecting these communities, fell far short.

The Grand Jury’s findings validated that residents were right to not trust the regulators or operators to put their health above corporate profits.

Most if not all of the problems at the two Range Resources’ sites were preventable. Both the state agency and the oil and gas industry have a lot of work to do to repair the trust of our communities. The eight recommendations put forth by the Attorney General’s Office are the starting place.

Moving forward, all penalties must set a culture of compliance and not allow for consequences to get worked into a business plan. For too long, residents living next to fracking have been sacrificed for the cost of doing business.

Read the findings from the Attorney General Office below:

Pennsylvania Failed to Protect Citizens

Range Resources Pleads to Criminal Conviction


  • Veronica Coptis

    Veronica Coptis joined the CCJ staff in March 2013 as a Community Organizer and is now serving as the Executive Director. She grew up in western Greene County near the Bailey Mine Complex and currently lives in the eastern part of the county. Before joining the CCJ staff, Veronica served on the Board of Directors for CCJ and organized with Mountain Watershed Association. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from West Virginia University. She enjoys hiking and geocaching at Ryerson State Park and other areas around Greene County with her husband and daughters. Read more about Veronica in a New Yorker Magazine profile at https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/07/03/the-future-of-coal-country. Contact Veronica at veronica@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org.

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