But not for long. Soon, everyone will be thinking about breathing because it will be painstaking. You will no longer able to take clean air for granted, and humans across rural Pennsylvania will experience smog like that of Philly or NYC— and they will take notice of that which they have lost. But it will be too late.
The air quality story in the NPR article in the link above will blow your mind… air quality is the virtual elephant in the room when talking about shale gas development. The mystery of that metaphor comes to life in the next paragraph.
In Region 3, comprised of over a dozen counties, the Pennsylvania DEP has several “programs.” The Oil & Gas Program is one. The Air Quality Program is another. They are separate fingers on the hand of DEP. In spite of the fact that there are both (1) known hydrocarbon emissions and (2) unknown cumulative health and safety risks posed to Region 3, specifically by hydrocarbon emissions from Marcellus Shale development as mentioned in the DEP’s own ‘Northcentral PA Marcellus Shale Short-Term Ambient Air Sampling Report,’ the DEP Region 3 Oil & Gas Program literally has ZERO staff that are air quality specialists. The Region 3 Air Quality Program has just four field specialists to cover all its counties, and Marcellus Shale-related cases are routed back to the Oil & Gas Program which, as I just said, has no air quality specialists.
These facts can easily be checked by calling the DEP. Please don’t inundate them with phone calls to do so, though, because I’m not wrong. My master checked twice. Instead, please phone Patrick Henderson, the senior energy advisor to Tom Corbett (PA’s Governor), and ask him to address the current lack of air quality oversight in the Oil & Gas Program. His phone number is 717.772.3820. All you have to do is read him the paragraph above. The last time my master talked to him, it was about the authority of field agents, and he said he’d get back to us, but he never did. Don’t buy his baloney about the budget currently being blah blah blah because the budget is mainly concerned with the general fund, and the DEP Oil & Gas Program is not funded from the general fund, but from a different fund specific to wells.
The fact of the matter is that IF the governor wanted to fix this problem, THEN he could.
If the Governor thinks that this dog should roll over, then he should at least try to prove me wrong first.