As part of the Republican congressional delegation’s commitment to continuing the safe development of Pennsylvania’s natural resources, members met Monday with the Commonwealth’s Acting Department of Environmental Protection Secretary (DEP) Michael Krancer. The briefing was part of the delegation’s effort to discuss federal and state actions to ensure safe exploration and transmission of natural gas.
The discussion touched on a number of topics, including interstate and gathering pipeline development, water treatment and disposal, and water quality issues.
The meeting, at DEP offices in Harrisburg, was attended by Republican members including Representatives Lou Barletta, Tim Murphy, Bill Shuster, and Glenn “GT” Thompson.
Secretary Krancer briefed the delegation about PA DEP’s announcement released Monday demonstrating that water quality tests conducted in November and December 2010 on seven Pennsylvania streams and rivers showed levels of naturally occurring radioactive material meeting federal safety standards. The samples were collected downstream of water treatment plants accepting produced water from natural gas drilling sites.
The delegation expressed concern that recent media reports would impact DEP’s ability to properly and independently carry out its mandate, free from excessive interference by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The legislators reiterated support for the work being done by the DEP regulators, who possess unique knowledge of Pennsylvania’s environment. During the meeting, Secretary Krancer noted that it is a constitutional right of all Pennsylvanians for the natural resources of the Commonwealth to be protected, and reiterated that the public safety is his number one priority.
“When it comes to safety, there can be no shortcuts, no loopholes, and no exceptions. I applaud the efforts of DEP and Secretary Krancer in this area. Testing has addressed the misinformation related to water quality in the Commonwealth, and validated with scientific data that municipal drinking water is safe,” said Rep. Tim Murphy, Co-Chair of the Congressional Natural Gas Caucus and the Vice Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment and Economy. “I have full confidence in Secretary Krancer’s efforts to effectively manage our natural resources and will continue working to ensure the Commonwealth remains sovereign in protecting our environment and resource development. I look forward to working closely with the Secretary to make sure we reap the full economic benefits of the Marcellus Shale while never compromising the health and safety of the Commonwealth.”
“Maintaining the quality of our drinking water requires constant communication between key stakeholders at the federal, state and local levels, and I am excited to have started such an important conversation with Secretary Krancer,” Representative Barletta said. “As Pennsylvania realizes its potential as a leader in domestic energy production, I am certain that Secretary Krancer will ensure that our water resources remain safe for all Pennsylvanians.”
“I join my colleagues in applauding the efforts of Secretary Krancer and the DEP for their work in protecting Pennsylvania’s natural resources and maintaining our state’s control over the regulation of Marcellus Shale development. Before our meeting, I held a roundtable in King of Prussia with members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation and stakeholders in our state’s pipeline infrastructure to discuss pipeline safety issues,” saidCongressman Bill Shuster, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials. “It is critical that we come together on all levels of government to ensure our pipeline infrastructure remains safe and up to the task of realizing the immense economic opportunities shale gas production holds for our state’s economy. I look forward to working with Governor Corbett, Secretary Krancer and my colleagues to do just that.”
“PA DEP continues to been an effective watchdog in assuring that our natural resources are produced in an environmentally sound manner. I see no reason why the Federal Government should think otherwise,” said Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson.
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