PennFuture lauds extension of public comment period on proposed new oil and gas regulations for Pennsylvania

Seven public hearings already in the books, two more scheduled in February

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- PennFuture today applauded the decision by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to extend the public comment period on proposed new regulations for oil and gas development – Chapter 78 of the DEP's regulations – for 30 days. Citizens may now comment, either in writing or at two additional public hearings helmed by the Environmental Quality Board (EQB), through March 14.

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"State agencies including the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) are stewards of our natural resources for all Pennsylvanians and future generations and, as such, they must consider the will of the people when it comes to oil and gas activities in our state," said Cindy Dunn, president and chief executive officer of PennFuture. "That's why we called for an extension of the public comment period on these proposed new regulations. It's imperative that our citizens make their voices heard, and we urge them to call for the strongest of regulations, and diligent enforcement, on oil and gas activities in the Commonwealth. We are grateful to DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo for heeding the call and agreeing that public engagement is critical during the rulemaking process."

The last of seven previously-scheduled public hearings was held last night in Tunkhannock, Pa., and PennFuture representatives testified at six of the seven hearings. Two public hearings have been added for February, on February 10 in Troy and on February 12 in Warren. Both hearings begin at 6 p.m. Public comments can also be submitted online via the following link: http://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/RegComments/Agreement.aspx

The purpose of the revisions is to implement Act 13 and codify regulatory approaches the DEP has developed over the past several years through policies and permit terms. The new regulations will significantly shape the DEP's ability to protect public health, streams and wetlands, and other natural resources from a range of oil and gas activities – the drilling and fracking of wells, the storage of wastewater in impoundments, the disposal of drilling wastes on well sites, the roadspreading of gas well brines for de-icing, etc.

PennFuture is providing talking points for interested citizen commenters here: http://pffacts.blogspot.com/2014/01/speak-now-public-hearings-on-new-oil.html

PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization founded in 1998 with staff in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre. The organization's activities include litigating cases before regulatory bodies and in local, state, and federal courts; advocating and advancing legislative action on a state and federal level; public education; and assisting citizens in public advocacy.

The Philadelphia Inquirer called PennFuture the "state's leading environmental advocacy organization;" the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named the organization "one of the 10 most influential groups on the issue of natural gas drilling;" and StateImpact Pennsylvania, an online collaboration of NPR stations across the state, called PennFuture "the commonwealth's main environmental advocate."

Contact: Elaine Labalme, labalme@pennfuture.org, 412-996-4112

SOURCE PennFuture




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