1,000 signatures reached
To: PA DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell, Deputy Secretary of the Office of Oil and Gas Management Scott Perry, Governor Tom Wolf
DEP, Don't Let Drillers Dump Toxic, Radioactive Waste on Our Roads
In the past five years, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has taken important steps to protect the environment and the public from contamination resulting from the road spreading of waste from unconventional drilling, banned in 2016, and conventional waste, put under a moratorium in 2018. An audio recording of a discussion of road spreading at the August 19 meeting of the PA Grade Crude [Oil] Development Advisory Council reveals that the agency is working to develop rules that would once again allow the use of conventional waste on unpaved roads as a dust suppressant. We urge you to ban outright the road spreading of conventional waste.
Why is this important?
This petition is a companion to a sign-on letter organizations are invited to sign. Find the letter here. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfywuN-6wKXEOW2Zwqy5dHmhIt2XtwlHxJ2AgiQaA8KRPk8yQ/viewform
Here's an excerpt:
Kurt Klapkowski, Director of the Bureau of Oil and Gas Planning and Program Management at DEP, told the Council, “We have to be able to defend our decisions with data. And that was the attempt, with working with Penn State, that's what we were attempting to do was to develop that data to be able to have a program that we could go to the Environmental Hearing Board and the Commonwealth Court and Supreme Court under the constitution and under the statutes that we administer, that would be defensible.”
He continued, “I don’t think we would have any objection to working with [the Council] and the Legislature to try to figure out a way to develop that data. I think we're hopeful that the study that we funded and expect to have finished will provide data that will allow us to have a program that we can defend in court. But that's really the bottom line for us, I mean we can only exercise the authority that we’re given within the limitations that we have and that's what we're attempting to do.” The study he refers to is the PennState study expected to be completed by the end of the year.
A growing body of peer-reviewed research has consistently demonstrated that road spreading of drilling waste damages the environment and poses risks to public health. As is the case with virtually all peer-reviewed research on oil & gas drilling, the trajectory has been one that has broadened and deepened our understanding of impacts already occurring and potential risks, not one that has reversed our thinking in any way. Spending taxpayer dollars in the search for data to support your intended policy shift is an unacceptable professional and ethical breach of your duty to the Constitution you swore to uphold.
DEP must halt any plans to develop regulations that would allow road spreading of drilling waste. Instead, the DEP must ban road spreading of drilling waste under any circumstances.