Grand Jury reports “systematic failures” by government agencies overseeing fracking


HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced on Thursday the two-year investigation by the grand jury that uncovered the failure of protecting Pennsylvanians from inherent risks of industry operations.

In a report, General Shapiro said,  “There remains a profound gap between our constitutional mandate for clean air and pure water, and the realities facing Pennsylvanians who live in it.”

The Jury heard from residents living near unconventional drilling sites. Some reportedly spoke of polluted air while others mentioned water with “black sludge,” “cloudy,” and “problems with breathing whenever we were in the shower.” Parents testified that their children woke up in the middle of the night to nose bleeds due to increased levels of gas in the air.

Farmers that testified mentioned livestock becoming sick, infertile and dying.

The detailed report included the previous criminal presentments of Range Resources and Cabot Oil & Gas for their repeated and systematic violation of Pennsylvania environmental law. 

The grand jury made eight recommendations to Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Health to better protect Pennsylvanians:

Expanding no-drill zones in Pennsylvania from the required 500 feet to 2,500 feet;

Requiring fracking companies to publicly disclose all chemicals used in drilling and hydraulic fracturing before they are used on-site;

Requiring the regulation of gathering lines, used to transport unconventional gas hundreds of miles;

Adding up all sources of air pollution in a given area to accurately assess air quality;

Requiring safer transport of the contaminated waste created from fracking sites;

Conducting a comprehensive health response to the effects of living near unconventional drilling sites;

Limiting the ability of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection employees to be employed in the private sector immediately after leaving the Department;

Allowing the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General original criminal jurisdiction over unconventional oil and gas companies.

PA Office of Attorney General Communications Office

For the full report click here.

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