Public health isn’t a numbers game – a response to John Hanger

September 28, 2012 • Nadia Steinzor

The most fundamental truth uncovered in Earthworks’ just-released report Breaking All the Rules: the Crisis in Oil & Gas Regulation, is that states are falling tragically short in enforcing their own oil and gas development rules.

It is good to see that John Hanger, ex-Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), does not argue that truth.

But even if the numbers shift a bit in some months, the key question that was the impetus to this research remains:

"Can the public have confidence that their health, air and water are being protected?”

Citing different numbers does not even begin to answer this question because the Pennsylvania DEP addressed its enforcement inadequacies in the same manner that allowed the problem to develop in the first place: DEP looked at the amount of drilling as something outside their control, and defined their ability to govern that drilling in terms of the limited resources available to them.

Breaking All the Rules: Oil and Gas Enforcement

September 26, 2012 • Bruce Baizel

We have released a national report about state enforcement of oil and gas regulations. The national report examines the current state of oil and gas enforcement in Colorado, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

This report arose from discussions with oil and gas agency decision-makers, inspectors, members of multi-stakeholder oil and gas organizations, former management-level industry employees, oil and gas and environment attorneys, members of conservation organizations, and representatives of academic institutions - all around the question of what makes enforcement effective.


New research: States don’t enforce oil and gas regulations

September 25, 2012

September 25th, Washington, D.C. – Today Earthworks released Breaking All the Rules: The Crisis in Oil & Gas Regulatory Enforcement, a new research study revealing that states across the country are failing to enforce their own oil and gas development regulations. The one-year, in-depth research project examined enforcement data and practices in Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, New York, New Mexico and Colorado and included interviews with ex-industry and state agency employees.

"State enforcement of oil and gas rules is broken," said Earthworks' Senior Staff Attorney Bruce Baizel. He continued, "Across the country, public health and safety are at risk because states are failing to uphold the rule of law. Until states can guarantee they are adequately enforcing their own rules on an ongoing basis, state agencies must not permit new drilling."

Breaking All the Rules (executive summary)

September 25, 2012 • Lisa Sumi

States are betraying the public by failing to enforce oil and gas development rules

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Breaking All the Rules – The Crisis in Oil and Gas Regulatory Enforcement

September 25, 2012 • Lisa Sumi

States are betraying the public by failing to enforce oil and gas development rules (Full report)

Enforcement Report – Pennsylvania DEP

September 25, 2012 • Lisa Sumi

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection: Inadequate enforcement guarantees irresponsible oil and gas development in Pennsylvania

Enforcement Report – Ohio DOGRM

September 25, 2012 • Lisa Sumi

Ohio Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management: Inadequate enforcement means current Ohio oil and gas development is irresponsible

Enforcement Report – Texas RRC

September 25, 2012 • Lisa Sumi

Texas Railroad Commission – Inadequate enforcement means irresponsible oil and gas development