After less than a week on the job, newly-sworn in Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced his office will conduct a performance audit of water programs related to the development of Pennsylvania’s shale gas reserves. He said his office will look at a number of facets.
“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,” said DePasquale.
The Auditor General said the natural gas drilling industry has brought new opportunities to small towns and rural communities throughout the state, which is a positive, but he said the 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,” he said.
DePasquale said about seven members of his staff will conduct the audit, which will likely take several months.
“We are under no illusions, this is an audit that is going to take some time. We want to make sure we get it right we want to not rush this, we also want to make sure we’re working with the department to make sure we’re getting a fair, accurate, and independent assessment of the situation.”
Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer was notified of the audit, which is slated to start next week.