Under Gov. Tom Corbett’s leadership, the Department of Environmental Protection has worked diligently to ensure that the development of the state’s many natural resources happens in an environmentally conscious manner (“DEP Must Do Better: The Public Is Left with Too Many Questions on Drilling,” July 28 editorial).
The efforts of the administration have been unprecedented, providing transparent access to information, taking strong enforcement action when necessary, engaging with stakeholders to develop solutions to the many challenges posed to us and our environment, developing world-class oil and gas regulations and ensuring that all Pennsylvanians’ right to clean air and clean water continue to be protected.
Over the last three years, there has been a strategic, proactive and intentional approach to the “boots on the ground” oversight of this industry. DEP has significantly increased unconventional well site inspections, going from only 1,262 inspections in 2008 to over 12,000 inspections in 2013, and plans to keep those numbers on a continued upward trend.
However, we do recognize there are always areas for improvement. Additional revenue from a recently increased well fee will give DEP the ability to continue to grow and strengthen our program along with the growing industry, supporting new information technology projects streamlining electronic review, upgrading reporting systems and databases, and enabling the hiring of about 30 additional staff.
The individuals working in Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Program are highly trained, dedicated professionals who devote their time and energy to protecting our environment and making sure energy resources are extracted in a manner that is deserving of the public’s trust. I am extremely proud of the internationally recognized work they do to ensure there is a beautiful, healthy Pennsylvania to pass down to our children and grandchildren.
E. Christopher Abruzzo
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Harrisburg