FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2023
Contact: Lisa DePaoli, email@example.com, 724-229-3550, ext. 5
PA REPORT FINDS STATE REGULATORS ARE FAILING TO HOLD OIL AND GAS ACCOUNTABLE
The Department of Environmental Protection needs the staffing and resources to protect communities across the Commonwealth
Washington, PA. - Pennsylvania's first-ever assessment of the oil and gas industry's regulatory compliance has confirmed what communities across the Commonwealth have known for decades - that extractive industries put profits ahead of people. But the report also finds that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) isn't equipped to protect residents and taxpayers.
“This report shows how dangerous it is for our communities to have an under-resourced DEP. Without executive oversight, the oil and gas industry has gotten away with cutting corners to make record-breaking profits at the expense of our communities” said Veronica Coptis, Executive Director of the Center for Coalfield Justice.
The DEP review not only found "significant non-compliance" with current regulations, but showed that across the conventional oil and gas industry there is a strong culture of breaking the rules.
The report, released December 29th, identifies more than 3,000 cases of companies violating regulations by abandoning a well and failing to plug it up. This practice leaks pollutants into our air, water and soil, and puts taxpayers on the hook to remediate the site.
“If the oil and gas industry wanted to be a good neighbor, they would clean up their own messes. Instead, all of our health suffers, and us taxpayers are on the hook to foot the bill for all these abandoned wells,” said Tammy Yoders, a member of CCJ and resident of New Freeport, PA.
DEP is hopeful that with additional resources, it can turn the current culture within industry around. The Department has avenues it can take to address these issues; it just needs more stable funding and staffing to do it, and for the operators to get with the program. Regulatory reform could also help protect the health and safety of the workers, residents, and the environment of the Commonwealth.