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Community and Environmental Defenders from Across Pennsylvania Demand Governor Wolf Enforce State Environmental Protections

Community and Environmental Defenders from Across Pennsylvania Demand Governor Wolf Enforce State Environmental Protections

Community Activists Deliver Letters to End Free Passes for Fracking Industry

Harrisburg, PA-- Today a letter signed by 47 organizations representing over 300,000 individuals was delivered to Governor Tom Wolf and key state legislators demanding that he and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) enforce crucial environmental protections before approving unnecessary and dangerous fracked gas pipelines. The letter, which details the regulatory failings of the PADEP under the Clean Water Act, is the latest move by community activists working to stop the unnecessary and dangerous proliferation of fracked gas pipelines cutting through Pennsylvania communities, private properties and public lands.

“By ignoring its regulatory responsibilities, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has approved several dangerous pipelines without needed regulatory review or investigation,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper and leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. “Pennsylvania’s politicians must cease giving away state power to the pipeline industry and needs to ensure that fracked gas pipelines, especially those that fail to comply with current environmental protections and regulations, are not built in our communities. They must reclaim their role as regulators and stand with Pennsylvania families--not with the fossil fuel industry.”
 

The letter shows that federal law requires state regulators to review proposed interstate fracked gas pipelines under section 401 of the Clean Water Act, issuing a rejection, approval, or approval with modifications in the form of a Water Quality Certification. However, rather than reviewing pipeline projects for compliance with state laws prior to granting this key federal-state approval, Pennsylvania regulators routinely issue 401 Certifications under the promise of future review for compliance. This practice effectively denies the state the ability to later reject these dangerous pipelines if it becomes clear that environmental protection laws cannot and/or will not be met.  As a result, pipeline companies are given an unsafe and undeserved pass on honoring the environmental protections guaranteed to Pennsylvanians under the state constitution. The PennEast, Atlantic Sunrise, and Leidy Southeast pipeline  projects are the most recent beneficiaries of this power give away by Pennsylvania regulators.  This letter is intended to put the Governor and legislators on notice that their failure to enforce the law and represent communities in this most basic and fundamental way is a betrayal of trust that will not be tolerated.

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