Essential Pittsburgh
2:28 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Is Oil & Gas Shipment Hurting Pennsylvania?

Officials say about 4,000 gallons of crude oil were spilled following the train derailment in Vandergrift, but most of it was contained in a parking lot.
Credit Reid Frazier / The Allegheny Front

In light of a recent train derailment and fire in Greene County; is gas drilling endangering the people, property and public lands of Western PA?

Cindy Dunn, president and CEO of the Statewide Environmental Advocacy organization PennFuture believes that gas drilling may have come on a little too quickly, contributing to the rate of accidents.

“From my travels around Pennsylvania, to meeting with members, citizens, listening in on public hearings, I think it seems to a lot of members, to the public that runaway gas development is bypassing safeguards and concerns that people have," says Dunn "A lot of people feel, and its true, its come on as pretty fast I mean this gas boom started in 2008 and I think safety mechanisms and regulatory mechanisms are struggling to keep up.”

Natasha Khan, a reporter for Public Source, backs up Dunn’s view and says, through her research on these accidents, there is a lack of information when it comes to hazardous material shipments.

“I have not found an agency that has a mechanism for tracking hazardous material shipments through the state, which I think would be better in terms of public transparency. Officials told me that they don't know of, including the DEP, they don’t know of a government agency actually that tracks these shipments through the state. In terms of storing hazardous materials, the EPA has some of that information in terms of tier 2 chemicals and if you have a facility that stores a certain amount of a hazardous chemical then you have to report it to the federal government.”