New information on spills from natural gas operations in Pennsylvania

The Scranton Times-Tribune recently published a series of articles that summarize the newspaper's six-month investigation of the regulatory environment for natural gas drilling in the state. According to the paper, the investigation: "reveals costly environmental and safety errors made by a growing industry that has become the state's economic hope, and details the often frustrated efforts of regulators to police it using outdated laws and incomplete information." Among other things, the reporter found:

  • there have been hundreds of spills of over the past five years by over 90 companies (so far in 2010, there have been 50). They include spills of industrial waste into a wild trout stream and watershed,  hydrochloric acid that spilled into a private pond, and drilling fluids and diesel fuel spilled into wetlands.
  • scientists are concerned that not enough is known about the effect widespread gas drilling will have on water supplies, air quality and human health.
  • The state has outdated and incomplete data on oil and gas violations.