DePasquale Audits PA's Oversight of Water Resources

  • The audit will look at such things as shale wastewater treated at industrial facilities like the PA Brine facility near Josephine, PA. Photo: Reid R. Frazier

Pennsylvania’s new Auditor General says his office will look into whether the state has adequately protected water sources in the wake of the shale gas boom. He will primarily be looking at the work of the PA Department of Environmental Protection. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said that economic growth should not come at the expense of the environment.

“You can’t compromise your drinking water, you can’t compromise protecting the environment. And we did get it wrong in how we monitored the coal industry several generations ago. We can’t make that same mistake again,” said Depasquale.

DePasquale said about seven members of his staff will conduct the audit, which will likely take several months.

“How does the permit staff go out and review the drilling operations before they issue a permit? What systems are in place to continue to monitor it? Are they doing random inspections, or are they consistently monitoring each site? Those are some of the things we’ll be looking for,” explained Depasquale.

Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Kevin Sunday said, essentially, "bring it on."

“We look forward to assisting and working with the AG and his staff and we’re gonna demonstrate how we’re doing our job very well as we protect our water resources. We have more than 2,600 men and women who go to work every day to protect Pennsylvania’s environment and we have a very sound fact-based regulatory program that oversees the natural gas industry,” said Sunday.

The audit starts in the coming week and looks at data from 2007 to 2012.