DEP Chief Claims to Hold Gas Drillers Accountable
I am writing this letter in opposition to Pennsylvania Department of Environmental oil and gas chief Scott Perry’s claim that he is proud of DEP’s work to hold drillers accountable for water contamination problems that they have caused here in Pennsylvania. Mr. Perry spoke at Tunkhannock Area High School in Wyoming County proclaiming that he is “proud” of the department’s work to hold drillers accountable for those problems.
“It’s about enforcement,” he said. “It’s about penalizing operators that don’t follow the rules. It’s about making them own up to their problems.”
The drilling companies have contaminated groundwater in nearby Dimock Township and other communities, and I have yet to see any of the aquifers cleaned up. In fact, I have yet to see any of the drilling companies own up to their mistakes and even start to clean up a contaminated aquifer.
The recent fines levied by Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection that totaled around two million dollars may seem like a lot to most people, but, to the drilling companies, it is peanuts. It is cheaper to pay the fines, if and when you get caught, than it is to work carefully and to not make mistakes in the first place.
The whole industry is driven by the desire for short-term profit. The only way to eliminate the cavalier attitude toward the environment is to make environmental disasters so expensive that the cost will far outweigh the excess profits generated by the actions that caused the disasters in the first place.
Anyone who contaminates an aquifer should be forced to clean it up. Cleanups are neither fast nor cheap, but they can be and should be done. If the cost bankrupts the company, then so be it. That will serve as an excellent example to other drillers of how not to run a company.
One of the most frequently asked questions of me is “Can an aquifer contaminated by gas drilling be cleaned up?” I would direct anyone who thinks it can’t to my FAQ page on the web at http://www.geturner.com/FAQ.html where they can learn how it is done.
Furthermore, I also feel that people who poison someone else’s water, either deliberately, or through carelessness or negligence, should have criminal charges brought against them and should spend time in prison for their acts.
George E. Turner