I urge you to launch an investigation of the Department of Environmental Protection's handling of citizen complaints related to unconventional gas drilling in the Commonwealth.
Findings of a three-year investigation by industry watchdog, Public Herald, reveal an agency that is not up to the task of protecting Pennsylvanians from fracking. The investigation also reveals systemic misconduct at the agency.
Public Herald's research adds significant weight to claims of regulatory neglect. Investigators fought with DEP for three years to obtain information on fracking-related complaints. What they uncovered is jarring. DEP has received over 9,400 complaints from people reporting health impacts linked to gas and oil drilling. Within this data, the Public Herald have identified at least 177 water contamination investigations wherein DEP committed one or more of three types of official misconduct: malfeasance, misfeasance, and negligence.
Your office has a responsibility to investigate this potential criminal activity. Getting tough on drilling companies frackers was part of your campaign platform. You promised to bring impact litigation against frackers where there is evidence that they have undermined Pennsylvanians' right to clean air and pure water. Your office also has the authority to investigate state officials or employees for criminal conduct affecting the performance of their public duties. Please investigate DEP.