Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer on Thursday released a statement addressed to an area lawmaker who last week called for an investigation into the government agency over the reporting methods involved with water testing near Marcellus Shale drilling areas—saying it appeared the legislator “misapprehended some important facts.”
State Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, said the DEP was withholding results for 16 of the 24 heavy metals tested for in groundwater samples near drilling sites—and called on state and federal authorities to launch an investigation into department practices.
In the two-page letter to White, Krancer said, among other things, that a statement the lawmaker released to the media last week contained information about DEP employees’ comments in depositions regarding reporting methods for tests completed on water samples collected near Marcellus Shale drilling sites.
He ended the letter by writing:
“Our staff are professional and know what to look for to protect the citizens of Pennsylvania and hold operators responsible when drilling activities have impacted water supplies,” the letter stated. “Our record demonstrates that and to state otherwise is simply false.”
Reached for comment on the letter Thursday afternoon, White said, “As much as I’d like to accept Mr. Krancer’s claims about training to be accurate, the sworn testimony of DEP’s own specialists clearly shows that is not the case.”
He continued: “In the deposition, DEP water quality specialist John Carson admitted under oath that he had received no specialized training on dealing with Marcellus Shale, admitted that he wouldn’t know what to look for to know if groundwater was contaminated or not and that the only thing you need to be a DEP water quality specialist is a driver’s license.”
White said he stands by his letter—and the information in it.
“Unfortunately, Secretary Krancer’s position is directly contradicted by the sworn testimony of his own employees,” he said. “Either way, all this does is reinforce the necessity of an independent outside investigation to find out what’s really going on inside DEP. There is just no excuse for withholding information that is important from the public."
To read Krancer's full letter, click on the attached PDF.
To read the Carson deposition White refers to, click here.