Fracking News

Environmental Injustice in the Shale Fields?

At an Environmental Law Forum in Harrisburg earlier this month Range Resources executive Terry Bossert made a comment that suggested his company avoided locating gas wells near well-to-do communities because potential opposition would be stronger. Mr. Brossert later apologized for his statement, saying it was simply sarcasm and not approval.

Attorneys from environmental organizations who were in the audience interpreted the comment as indication of environmental injustice in the fracking business. The attorneys from the Center for Coalfield Justice, Clean Air Council, and Sierra Club wrote to the Director of DEP’s Office of Environmental Justice calling for the Director to implement the Environmental Justice Public Participation Policy of 2005 for every future well permit application, and “to conduct a retroactive analysis of permits previously issued to determine whether there was an adverse impact on environmental justice communities”.

Another aspect of this dispute is that Mr. Brossert of Range Resources was formerly DEP’s chief counsel in the 1990s, an example of the revolving-door nature of the regulatory atmosphere in former administrations.

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