Act 13

After an 18-month audit, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been called “outdated, understaffed and underfunded” when it comes to monitoring the impact of Marcellus Shale drilling on water quality. 

“For an analogy internally we believe it’s like firefighters trying to put out a five-alarm fire with a 20-foot garden hose,” said Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

The audit resulted in eight findings with 29 recommendations. DePasquale said 18 of the recommendations would not cost tax payers any more money.

Commonwealth Court Throws Out Several Challenges to Act 13, Including ‘Doctor Gag Rule’

Jul 17, 2014
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

Pennsylvania doctors have nothing to worry about when it comes to the so-called “gag order” on chemical exposures from oil and gas drilling. That’s the message from the Commonwealth Court today in a much-anticipated ruling on provisions of the state’s two-year-old oil and gas law. The court issued the ruling after the Supreme Court passed on the controversy, sending it back to the lower court.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is collecting public comments on a set of proposals meant to give further consideration to parks and wildlife, prevent spills and manage waste in oil and gas drilling operations.

These would be implemented under Act 13, the law that governs the oil and gas development in the state. Provisions of the act are being challenged in court, but others are going forward.

While he awaits a decision whether the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will reconsider its decision to strike down part of Act 13, Gov. Tom Corbett is asking oil and gas drillers to continue to follow the environmental requirements established in that statewide drilling law.

“I am calling upon Pennsylvania’s oil and gas operators to honor both the spirit and intent of these setback provisions to continue helping us protect Pennsylvania’s water and natural resources,” Corbett said.

DEP Wants High Court to Reconsider Act 13 Ruling

Jan 3, 2014

The Department of Environmental Protection and the Public Utility Commission have asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to reconsider a recent decision striking down key components of  Act 13 which regulates natural gas drilling.

At a Harrisburg rally yesterday, there were petitions signed by 100,000 people for Gov. Tom Corbett, and State Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny) announced he will introduce legislation calling for a temporary moratorium on any new Marcellus Shale gas drilling.  

Ferlo said with 10,000 wells operating, it's time to take a step back because evidence has grown of water contamination and air pollution, as well as adverse impacts on personal health property values and the state’s billion-dollar industries: agriculture and tourism.