If PA DEP Miscounted Natural Shale Gas Wells, Could Cost State Millions

According to researchers at the University of Alberta and McGill University, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) may have missed over 15,000 wells when figuring out how to apply the impact fee mandated in the state’s new law, Act 13, says the Scranton Times-Tribune. If true, Pennsylvania may miss out on up to $303 million in revenue from impact fees in 2012. Naturally the DEP disputes any incompetence or wrongdoing, insisting that it followed the intent of Act 13, which was only to apply to wells in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations.

Nonetheless, recently elected Auditor General Eugene DePasquale intends to conduct a performance audit of the way in which the state’s DEP has regulated Marcellus Shale. Just to be on the safe side. Citing some of the areas that might need oversight – environmental degradation, community health issues, and management of the state’s natural resources – he said he didn’t want to see some of the mistakes of past energy booms, which left devastation in its tracks, repeated in Pennsylvania.

The audit will “make sure the department has all the appropriate resources they can to do their job to protect our water and our land,” said DePasquale.


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