State and local law enforcement officers and lawyers from Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia gathered in Pennsylvania recently to discuss environmental impacts of the Marcellus shale gas drilling and law enforcement's role in dealing with violations. The Allegheny Front's Ilana Yergin has more on this and other news about the Marcellus Shale.
YERGIN: State College, PA had an unusual number of law enforcement officials in town for a conference about how their jobs will be impacted by the Marcellus Shale drilling industry and its rapid expansion. The event lasted two days. One of the concerns discussed at the conference was communication between departments. Peter Smith, the U.S. Attorney for Middle Pennsylvania, said that with the federal, state and local governments, there is overlap in regulations that can create confusion.
SMITH: I think it's not so much that there's a disconnect here, it's just that there's an overlapping and there's sometimes questions asked as who is supposed to be the first responder and who is supposed to be ultimately responsible and that's why we're emphasizing so heavily that the agencies have to be informed and have to work together.
YERGIN: As drilling operations grow, Smith says the agencies will continue to communicate with each other to become more efficient.
In Washington County, Beth Voyles filed a lawsuit against the state's Department of Environmental Protection. Voyles is arguing that a DEP field agent was told not to accept complaints about, investigate, or cite Range Resources for any noxious odors that might be coming from the reservoir Voyles had complained about. If the court sides with Voyles, the DEP will have to take water, soil and air samples and any other necessary steps to fully address Voyles' complaint. A spokesman from Range Resources told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the DEP agent didn't respond to Voyles' complaints because it is unfounded.
For the Allegheny Front, I'm Ilana Yergin.