Barnett Shale operators have carte blanche in North Texas while other states require that those very same operators follow rules to protect natural resources. Why is it that Texas is so far behind the curve when it comes to requiring that oil and gas operators follow environmental rules?
I follow drilling issues in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Arkansas and Pennsylvania to name a few. Most of those states do a much better job of regulating oil and gas operators than Texas does. And guess what? The operators are still drilling there! They didn’t pack up their toys and go home. Why is Texas so wimpy?
Pennsylvania Warns Gas Industry to Respect Natural Treasures
Pennsylvania’s top environmental official, Kathleen McGinty, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary, had strong words for oil and gas operators:
taking advantage of the state’s energy resources is important to its economy and to the nation’s interests, but doing so must be balanced against the need to protect Pennsylvania’s natural resources.
Last year sat a record for drilling permits issued in Pennsylvania largely due to the Marcellus Shale formation.
“This activity can be a tremendous economic boon for our state’s citizens and industries, especially at a time when natural gas prices are at record highs. However, developing our energy resources cannot come at the expense of our environmental resources – our water, our land and our ecosystems,” she said.
The meeting was held for operators to make sure they understand the environmental rules. During recent inspections, the Department of Environmental Protection discovered several violations that threaten water resources.
“These rules are in place to protect our natural treasures and we will not compromise on them,” said McGinty.
Other agencies in attendance were the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the Susquehanna and Delaware river basin commissions, and the state’s county conservation districts
They found some of the same violations we ignore here in North Texas:
- poorly constructed and
- dangerous water impoundments
- inadequate erosion and sediment controls
- improper waste and fluid disposal
- improper and unregistered withdrawals of water from streams.
“In light of those discoveries, we acted quickly to stop this harmful activity and felt it was necessary to bring all current and potential operators together to meet directly with the agencies responsible for protecting our water and other natural resources.”
On May 30, the DEP ordered the partial shutdown of two drilling operations in Lycoming County and stepped up inspections of drilling operations statewide. In addition to Friday’s summit, the DEP is scheduling formal conferences with current and prospective gas exploration companies to go over permit requirements and discuss the proper storage and disposal of drilling and fluids and the registration of water withdrawals.
Why the HELL can’t Texas get tough like that? Oh yeah, we don’t have a Department of Environmental Protection. Instead, we have The Energy Protection Commission which is run by the paid protectors of the oil and gas industry.
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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