The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
39,595 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Voices of Central Pa
Home » Blogs » Bill's blog
NBC says Pennsylvania DEP "rubber stamps" Marcellus drilling permits
Submitted by Bill on April 13, 2011 - 9:45pm
Looks like the Pennsylvania DEP spends A WHOLE 35 MINUTES on applications to drill the marcellus shale, such a short review that NBC calls it "rubber stamping".

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42574488/ns/us_news-environment/

Pennsylvania environmental regulators say they spend as little as 35 minutes reviewing each of the thousands of applications for natural gas well permits they get each year from drillers intent on tapping the state's lucrative and vast Marcellus Shale reserves.

And the regulators say they do not give any additional scrutiny to requests to drill near high-quality streams and rivers even though the waterways are protected by state and federal law.

Staffers in the state Department of Environmental Protection testified behind closed doors last month as part of a lawsuit filed by residents and environmental groups over a permit that DEP issued for an exploratory gas well in northeastern Pennsylvania, less than a half-mile from the Delaware River and about 300 feet from a pristine stream.

Their statements, obtained by The Associated Press, call into question whether regulators are overburdened and merely rubber-stamping permit applications during the unprecedented drilling boom that has turned Pennsylvania into a major player in the natural gas market, while also raising fears about polluted aquifers and air.

The agency has denied few requests to drill in the Marcellus Shale formation, the world's second-largest gas field. Of the 7,019 applications that DEP has processed since 2005, only 31 have been rejected — less than one-half of one percent.

"Even those of us who are skeptics of the DEP, I think we all want to assume that they're doing the basics. And they're really just not," said Jordan Yeager, a plaintiffs' attorney who is challenging the drilling permit awarded to Newfield Appalachia PA LLC, a unit of Houston-based Newfield Exploration Co.

The agency declined to comment about any aspect of its permit review process, even to answer general questions.

And, apparently, the Geologists and "experts" they have approving these applications don't even know what state and federal laws apply to the drilling.

This is the BIG PROBLEM with the fracking - it's being jammed down the throats of pennsylvanians as fast as possible, so that nobody has time to figure out what the real costs actually are. Out of state companies are bringing in out of state workers as fast as they can, giving low level poor paying jobs to Pennsylvanians, and extracting the gas as fast as they can before Pennsylvania catches on to their game, their "play", their exploitation of the people of Pa.

The people doing this, and the politciians they have bought, know that Pennsylvania is getting a crappy deal. They wouldn't have to rubber stamp applications otherwise.

This is why we have to tell our politicians "Hey wait just a second - the gas isn't to disappear, and it only gets more valuable as time goes on - why are you in such a big fracking hurry to let out-of-state corporations take our gas?".

More from that article - the "experts assigned to rubber stamp applications don't even know the laws that apply:

But the depositions of four DEP staffers responsible for processing permits — taken in late March and filed with a regional water agency this week — reveal that:

The agency doesn't consider potential impacts on legally protected high-quality watersheds, beyond checking that wells meet minimum setbacks required of all gas wells in the state.

Staffers don't consider whether proposed gas wells comply with municipal or regional zoning and planning laws.

They don't consider the cumulative impact of wide-scale development of wells in a concentrated area.

They appear to have a fuzzy understanding of laws that are supposed to govern their work. A supervisor was unable to define the requirements of a key anti-degradation regulation that says pristine waterways "shall be maintained and protected," while a geologist said he didn't know that streams and rivers legally designated as "high quality" or "exceptional value" are entitled to an extra layer of protection.

Asked by Yeager whether he had "any understanding of what it means to be an HQ watershed," DEP geologist Joseph Lichtinger replied: "Only that it means high quality."

"Any understanding what high quality means?" Yeager persisted.

"No."

"Do you know what that means in terms of the level of protection that they have under the law?"

Lichtinger, who performed the substantive technical analysis of drilling permit applications, shook his head, then answered no.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,132 Posts
just read that in local paper.

now, who should you be mad at? certainly not the gas comp who paid $10,000.00 for the permit! i would think that is certainly enough money to justify that the DEP get off their lazy, self serving, hypocrtical, power hungry, power trip, egotistacle, gov't employed, worthless butts and do their job in a fair, ETHICAL, and honest way !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39,595 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
buzz said:
just read that in local paper.

now, who should you be mad at? certainly not the gas comp who paid $10,000.00 for the permit! i would think that is certainly enough money to justify that the DEP get off their lazy, self serving, hypocrtical, power hungry, power trip, egotistacle, gov't employed, worthless butts and do their job in a fair, ETHICAL, and honest way !
Agreed. Fair, ethical, honest, get it right, way. I'm all for drilling. Not so much for polluting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,132 Posts
really,.....i find it extremly hard to imagine that a lawyer drug the DEP in court and made them look like bafoons....not that they needed help!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,442 Posts
Actually, the standard for protection of EV and HQ streams is to keep everything 150 feet from the top of bank. That standard applies to subdivisions and wells. By State law locals can not zone drilling site. Wells sites are needed every 1500 feet depending on lease holds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,870 Posts
First of all you need to double check your permit fee schedule.

http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/minres/oilgas/2011Permitcalculator.htm

Second of all the geologist is not the lead reviewer for the permit, he will only review what it is in his area of expertise. The engineer would be responsible for knowing the rules associated with surface water classifications. He obviously should have known that answer given his position and I would never defend his ignorance. I am just pointing out the way things work.

I would like to know where they came up with the statement that permits can be reviewed in 35 minutes. It doesn't happen....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,205 Posts
Esox_Hunter said:
First of all you need to double check your permit fee schedule.

http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/minres/oilgas/2011Permitcalculator.htm

Second of all the geologist is not the lead reviewer for the permit, he will only review what it is in his area of expertise. The engineer would be responsible for knowing the rules associated with surface water classifications. He obviously should have known that answer given his position and I would never defend his ignorance. I am just pointing out the way things work.

I would like to know where they came up with the statement that permits can be reviewed in 35 minutes. It doesn't happen....
From the actual article it was stated that some permit applications could be "checked in as little as one half hour" and others "took all day". Leads me to believe there are several "types" of permits available.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,442 Posts
PADEP requires these drilling permit applicaitons be prepared and certified by a licensed professional who has taken a required PADEP Well Permit Training Class. Application prepared by a trained professional are given priority reviews like they should be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
yeah, this article pretty much proves that Pennsylvania is currently the Bourbon Street of energy extraction. Anything goes baby!!! Especially when money is involved.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,829 Posts
If I have this right, it takes 15 days or less to get a well permit.

I ask you all, how long does it take to get a sewage permit for an on lot sewage system?

Here is a hint, it sure ain't 15 days or less.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,132 Posts
how many agencys have to ok the sewer permit ? i know around hereit is local sanitation, and the town/township. a permit ap can be delivered to twp office 1 day after monthly meeting, and set on desk til next monthly meeting.
same goes at sanitation.

certainly can get very frustrating for those trying to get something done in a timely manor


i do get the point your makeing, but i believe it has to do with what pajoe pointed out on 1st page.....permits are done by paid/trained professionals who have already done all the leg work required.

i would imagine there is a wetland study , engineering survey type stuff etc etc...probly done by 3rd party, and all in the permit pack that is delievered to DEP.

not sure about that, but i know there are a lot of 3rd party eng firms, wetland consultants who show up when new sight is being looked at and mapped out.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top