Remember folks; this is about PA and not New York. Our regulations remain to be written regarding high Volume hydraulic fracturing (Slick water fracturing). Under the old GEIS regulations, natural gas well have been working successfully. However, this article also served to frighten New Yorkers
Re “Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers” (“Drilling Down” series, front page, Feb. 27):
If the goal of your report about natural gas drilling was to gratuitously frighten Pennsylvanians, then congratulations on a job well done. If it was to deliver an evenhanded examination of the critical balance that must be achieved between job creation, energy independence and environmental protection in regions with large natural gas deposits, then it was a mighty swing and a miss.
As the two people who enacted four regulatory packages strengthening drilling regulation and led the enforcement of the rules in Pennsylvania until January, we strongly disagree that there is lax regulation and oversight of gas drilling there.
Pennsylvania has the strongest enforcement program of any state with gas drilling. Period. From Jan. 1, 2008, to June 30, 2010, the Department of Environmental Protection issued 1,400 violations to drilling companies.
We fined Cabot Oil and Gas $1.1 million, and ordered it to repair gas wells, permanently shut three of its wells and pay 19 families an average of $200,000 each, or twice their property value. We ordered EOG Resources to cease statewide operations for a period after a gas well blowout.
There was no mention of the 5,000 inspections of Marcellus Shale drill sites conducted in 2010 alone — a 100 percent increase over 2009.
But the article raises a serious issue: whether drilling has caused unhealthy levels of radium in our drinking water. Good reasons exist to believe the answer is no, but belief is not good enough.
Pennsylvania should order all its public water systems to immediately test for radioactive pollutants. Only testing of our drinking water can resolve this question and give citizens peace of mind.
Edward G. Rendell
Philadelphia, March 2, 2011
The writers are, respectively, former governor of Pennsylvania and former secretary of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.