Thursday, February 10, 2011

Former PADEP chief sits down for a frank, fracking chat

John Hanger became secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection during the last two and a half year's of Governor Ed Rendell's term in office--roughly the same time that natural gas companies were snapping up drilling leases, boring hundreds of wells, and pumping millions of gallons of fracking fluids into sections of the Marcellus Shale that runs beneath Pennsylvania and New York.

Hanger had to play catchup with an industry that found virtually no environmental or political barriers to entry to the Keystone State, despite a few highly publicized events, including exploding wells and a contaminated community water supply.    

By most accounts, the DEP under Hanger, responded admirably, overseeing the development and  adoption of tough new rules on well placements and security and on the storage and treatment of wastewater from the controversial hydraulic fracturing technique--more commonly known as hydrofracking or 'fracking.'

Hanger sat for an interview, published today, with ProPublica, the prize-winning organization that published a series of  investigative reports that spurred wider media attention to the potential dangers associated with natural drilling methods and fluids.

In the interview, Hanger reviews the challenges the department faced and what it did to overcome them, and he answers the question: Is hydraulic fracturing safe?

He also expresses his view on the developing national regulation of natural gas drilling. 
His opinion might surprise you.

Overall, it's a piece worth your time. You'll find it at:
PA’s Former Environmental Chief, Talks About Challenges of Keeping Gas Drilling Safe

Related:
Former PADEP Secretary joins Eckert Seamans law firm

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Another sad day for journalism in New Jersey


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