PA Attorney General Releases Scathing Report On Fracking Industry

The report comes down hardest on the Department of Environmental Protection

KDKA Radio Staff
June 25, 2020 - 12:46 pm
Fracking Site

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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HARRISBURG (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has released a scathing grand jury report on how the fracking industry is regulated in the state.

The report comes down hardest on the Department of Environmental Protection, which Shapiro says has a too cozy relationship with the fracking industry.

“The giant fracking companies were given a free pass by unprepared agencies and the public was harmed,” said Shapiro.

The report makes eight recommendations to lawmakers and the Wolf Administration:

  1. Expanding no-drill zones in Pennsylvania from the required 500 feet to 2,500 feet;
  2. Requiring fracking companies to publicly disclose all chemicals used in drilling and hydraulic fracturing before they are used on-site;
  3. Requiring the regulation of gathering lines, used to transport unconventional gas hundreds of miles;
  4. Adding up all sources of air pollution in a given area to accurately assess air quality;
  5. Requiring safer transport of the contaminated waste created from fracking sites;
  6. Conducting a comprehensive health response to the effects of living near unconventional drilling sites;
  7. Limiting the ability of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection employees to be employed in the private sector immediately after leaving the Department;
  8. Allowing the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General original criminal jurisdiction over unconventional oil and gas companies.

The Grand Jury heard from Pennsylvania residents who say they suffered from severe health issues living near unconventional drilling sights.

They also said their well water was “’black sludge,’ “cloudy,’ and using the contaminated water caused “problems with breathing whenever we were in the shower.” 

Some farmers testified their livestock that used the water became violently ill, infertile or died.

 “This report is about preventing the failures of our past from continuing into our future,” said Shapiro. “It’s about the big fights we must take on to protect Pennsylvanians — to ensure that their voices are not drowned out by those with bigger wallets and better connections. There remains a profound gap between our Constitutional mandate for clean air and pure water, and the realities facing Pennsylvanians who live in the shadow of fracking giants and their investors.”

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