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Former PA Governor Expresses Some Regret Over Early Days of Shale Boom

Pennsylvania's former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell said this week that he made a "mistake" in putting the economic benefits of the shale gas boom before environmental protections.

Rendell, who held office from 2003 to 2011 and was the first governor to deal with Marcellus Shale development, made the comments at a Democratic National Convention event hosted by Politico in Philadelphia.

"I made a mistake in the rush to get the economic part of fracking delivered to Pennsylvania," he was quoted as saying by StateImpact Pennsylvania. "We didn't regulate well construction and...frack water as well as we should. We cured that in 2010, and we haven't had any significant incidents since." 

While the state issued more than 10,000 violations to both conventional and unconventional producers from 2012-2015 during a period of heavy development, state regulators first took action against the industry in 2008 (see Shale Daily, Dec. 4, 2015). One of the first regulatory responses was a summit called by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in 2008 to discuss water withdrawals and environmental protections.

The state increased permitting fees in 2009 to expand its staff and strengthened wastewater management standards in 2010. But it didn’t overhaul rules for shale producers until 2012 when Act 13 was passed under former Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. Some of the regulations that law called for are still being finalized (see Shale Daily, June 15).

Rendell, who generally supported the industry, also said at the event that high-volume hydraulic fracturing should be banned in communities where it's opposed, echoing a recent amendment that was included in the Democratic party platform (see Shale Daily, July 11).

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