Monday, June 29, 2020
Pennsylvania attorney general releases 'scathing' grand jury report on state fracking industry, regulatory industry
"Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Thursday released a scathing grand jury report on the state’s Marcellus Shale natural gas industry that not only outlines health and safety issues caused by hydraulic fracturing, but also takes to task the chief agency in charge of enforcing regulations on the industry," Frank Kummer reports for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
"The grand jury report was the result of a two-year investigation that included 287 hours of testimony. It examined an industry that has drilled over 12,000 unconventional wells, as well as what the jurors called a 'chemical cover-up' that allows companies to keep secret complex chemical compounds used in the fracking process," Kummer reports.
At a press conference, Shapiro described a "revolving door relationship between the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and the industry, saying officials from the agency 'repeatedly failed to exercise their duties and responsibilities,'" Kummer reports. He characterized their relationship as "too cozy" and said DEP officials who testified to the grand jury were repeating fracking industry talking points. He also noted that an energy company hired seven former DEP employees from the same office.
A 2017 study linked low birth weight and other health problems for infants who lived near fracking wells.