Many gas wells in Pennsylvania go unreported for months, despite a state law requiring natural gas drilling companies to submit well records no later than 30 days after drilling is completed, according to a report by the investigative project ProPublica.
Without the records, state officials might not be able to pinpoint potential environmental hazards, such as gas and fluids leaking into drinking water sources. Reporter Nicholas Kusnetz learned many of DEP’s regional offices haven’t enforced the law.
A DEP spokeswoman said the reporting delay presents no threat because the department more often relies on inspections rather than reports to ensure that a well is drilled to code. Critics, however, say there aren’t nearly enough inspectors to cover the increase in drilling in PA. (The department issued more than 6,100 well permits last year alone.)
Read the full story.
Also check out the site’s report on whether the state is enforcing its new rule requiring newly-built wastewater plants to meet higher treatment standards. (Only one of about 20 existing plants meet the new regulations.)
Why is this important? Because as gas-drilling operations have boomed in the Keystone State in recent years, and most of the hundreds of millions of gallons of salty, chemically tainted wastewater they produce was dumped into the state’s rivers, according to Propublica. Municipal treatment plants are largely unable to remove the salts and minerals from the wastewater.
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