Wednesday, April 21, 2010

DEP to meet with Drilling Companies about Preventing Gas Migration into Water

Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is continuing to seek ways to protect the state's water resources. Last week DEP took further action against Cabot Oil & Gas after the company failed to address migrating gas discovered in 2009 from drilling operations that contaminated groundwater and the drinking water supplies of 14 homes in Dimock. Now DEP wants to meet with gas drilling companies to figure out how to prevent water contamination by migrating gas. And, if residents are lucky, how to safeguard water supplies from other other contaminants as well.

Yesterday DEP Secretary John Hanger announced that he has called a meeting of oil and gas companies with permits to drill in the Marcellus Shale for Thursday, May 13. They'll gather in Harrisburg.

"The Department of Environmental Protection has a constitutional and statutory obligation to protect Pennsylvania’s environment," Hanger told the press. "That right is not for sale and is not subject to compromise." Hanger believes that drilling for natural gas can be done responsibly without putting the citizens of Pennsylvania, their property or livelihoods at risk.

"I am urging the industry to come and discuss how to effectively and safely prevent gas migration, protect our natural resources, and ensure that what happened to the residents of Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, does not happen elsewhere," Hanger said. He added that gas migration is unacceptable, and the DEP is taking whatever steps necessary to address the issue.

"In addition to increased oversight, the department has proposed tougher regulations to meet the growing demand and new drilling technologies including improving well construction standards to protect from gas migration," Hanger said.

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