Lawmaker: Gas Industry Should Be Able to Police Itself

By Napsha, Joe | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 24, 2011 | Go to article overview

Lawmaker: Gas Industry Should Be Able to Police Itself


Napsha, Joe, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


The state should institute a penalty that lifts the license of any natural gas-related company that repeatedly breaks environmental rules, a member of Congress said on Monday.

Companies that continually violate the state's environmental regulations not only should be penalized, but the industry should police itself by not hiring those violators, Rep. Tim Murphy, R- Upper St. Clair, told about 250 industry representatives at the Gas Business Briefing's Shale Play Tubulars conference in the Omni William Penn hotel, Downtown.

Murphy, who heads the Congressional Gas Caucus, said the proposal was suggested to him by a representative of the natural gas industry.

The state does not have laws to pull the license of a repeat environmental offender, but the agency has forced a company, such as a driller, to suspend operations until a problem is resolved, said John Repetz, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection. Some companies have had multiple violations, Repetz said.

In addition to banning repeat offenders of environmental rules, such as those that dump hydraulic fracturing wastewater into the state's waterways, Murphy said the industry should have a "zero tolerance" for accidents that harm workers and the environment.

"I need to hear the industry say the same thing, and I haven't heard them say it," Murphy said. …

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