This morning, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that inspectors policing the drilling operations in the Marcellus Shale will no longer be able to do anything--issue permits, enforce regulations, cite violations--without approval of top Department of Environment officials. According to DEP spokespeople, this will bring "consistency" to the regulatory process. Yet oddly enough, such consistency is being sought only in regard to the Marcellus Shale; the same policy does not apply to any of the other regulatory protocols the DEP oversees.
Come on, people! This is a shameless ploy to strip independent inspectors of their power to regulate the shale drilling, and to place all decisions in the hands of political appointees whose jobs are dependent on an administration utterly sympathetic to the drilling industry. It's one step short of having the drillers issue their own permits and cite their own violations. My guess is, they wouldn't find themselves having committed any.
Tom Corbett's office denies having had anything to do with the policy change. And if you believe that one....
When are ordinary Pennyslvanians going to wake up and smell the poison?