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PA DEP’s Secretary John Hanger Not Happy about GasLand Movie and with Good Reason


Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Secretary John Hanger appears in the recently released documentary Gasland that is playing on HBO.  Gasland is a documentary that was created by Josh Fox that has the oil and gas industry frustrated due to its anti-drilling propaganda, deceptive information and blatant lies regarding the industry (see actual truths in the GasLand Debunked PDF).  In the film John Hanger, who is known to be a strong advocate of environment protection in dealing with the oil and gas industry, is portrayed as lapdog for the industry seemingly for dramatic effect.  Now for the sake of argument let’s completely disregard his past of being the President/CEO of Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture), a mainstream Pennsylvanian environmental movement organization, for 10 years before becoming the DEP secretary and look at how he has interacted with the oil and gas industry lately.

At the end of last year Cabot Oil and Gas had an incident that resulted in ground water and drinking water being contaminated in 14 homes in Susquehanna Co., PA.  The DEP, John Hanger, ordered Cabot to plug the wells involved in the incident, install permanent water treatment systems in the homes that were affected and pay $240,000 in fines (see my previous blog DEP Meeting with Operators after Cabot Incident).

Earlier last month EOG had a well blowout that caused about 35,000 gallons of natural gas and drilling wastewater to be projected in the air and on the ground.  Hanger came down hard on EOG by ordered EOG to halt all natural gas drilling activity in Pennsylvania until an investigation of the incident is conducted by the DEP along with an independent expert.  I can’t even imagine the cost of this suspension for EOG but I am sure it is a lot.  Note that EOG is doing everything they can to rectify the situation and being very cooperative with the DEP.

A couple of weeks ago the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board, on which John Hanger sits and is VERY active in, set the wheels in motion to protect waterways from natural gas drilling wastewater by approving more strict regulations.  Typically stricter regulations on any industry will cost more to the companies regulated.

Those are just a few recent examples of John Hanger’s interactions with the oil and gas industry and from my side of this blog if Hanger is an industry lapdog then he is one that bites hard when the industry gets environmentally out of line.  I for one think that John Hanger is doing a terrific job with limiting the already small number of risks associated with the numerous benefits the oil and gas industry provides for the state of Pennsylvania and US as a country.

To learn more visit the Marcellus Regulatory, Environmental Info folder in the Unconventional Updates in DI’s DNA.

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Anne Leonard

In January 2015, Anne Leonard headed the team that launched the latest addition to DrillingInfo’s international publications, International Scout Frontier North America which covers the US Gulf of Mexico as well as Maritime and Arctic Canada. She has been reporting on exploration and production for more than 30 years. She began her career in Denver covering the Rocky Mountain Region, and has spent the last 10 years covering the international arena, with a particular focus on Latin America, Africa, Western Europe and the Far East. Anne received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Nebraska.