2014

State Environmental Quality Board kicks off seven public hearings on proposed oil and gas regulations

On heels of Act 13 ruling in support of citizens, municipalities and the environment, PennFuture encourages public to call for increased protection and enforcement

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tonight, the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB) will conduct the first of seven public hearings scheduled in January throughout the state with respect to proposed new regulations for oil and gas development – Chapter 78 of the Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) regulations – and is encouraging public comment during the rulemaking process.

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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.

"The state Supreme Court recently issued an historic ruling on Act 13, Pennsylvania's oil and gas law, that comes down strongly in favor of the provisions in our Environmental Rights Amendment, namely, clean air, pure water and the preservation of the environment," said Cindy Dunn, president and chief executive officer of PennFuture. "Our citizens need to make their voices heard and call for the strongest of regulations, and diligent enforcement, on oil and gas activities in the Commonwealth for the protection of humans and wildlife now and into the future."

The first hearing is scheduled tonight, January 9, at 6 p.m. in West Chester; the next hearing is Monday, January 13 in Williamsport. A complete listing of dates and locations, as well as registration information, can be found here: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/public_resources/20303/surface_regulations/1587188

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

The statewide environmental advocacy organization plans to have staff in attendance at every hearing. (Note: The January 7 hearing in Wyoming County was rescheduled to January 27 due to weather.)

PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization founded in 1998 with offices in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre. Its 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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