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Environment & Energy

No Reports of Drilling Pollution in Wake of Pennsylvania Flooding

Most natural gas drillers operating in areas impacted by last week's flooding shut down operations before water levels rose. But according to StateImpact Pennsylvania, a public radio collaboration, the energy companies weren't required to tell state regulators whether or not they had halted production.

Governor Tom Corbett says he asked drillers to stop production, as the Susquehanna River and its tributaries began spilling over their banks last week.

When asked how many companies complied, the Department of Environmental Protection couldn't answer because drillers aren't required by law to notify the state when they halt operations. Corbett said he'll consider closing that loophole, as his administration writes a comprehensive Marcellus Shale bill this fall.

"And certainly this would be something that, we should be able to communicate and find out exactly which rigs are shut down, which rigs aren't, and where they need to shut down," Corbett said.

The governor said the lack of communication will also be discussed during post-flooding administration performance reviews.

"I think it's one, something we need to take a look at as we address Marcellus," Corbett said. "But also, after you've had a major natural disaster like this, and our response in a week or two from now we'd do an after-action report. And we'd say, what can we do, what can we do better? What did we do right? What did we do wrong?"

Whether drillers informed the state or not, most did prepare for the high waters. There haven't been any reports of drilling-related pollution or environmental damage in the wake of the flood.