The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Quality Board has proposed changes to regulations that govern environmental protection performance standards associated with oil and gas activities in the Commonwealth. As part of that process, hearings are being held throughout Pennsylvania to receive public comment on the proposed changes.
One such hearing will be today at the Pennsylvania College of Technology's Klump Academic Center, One College Avenue, Williamsport, PA 17701.
Williamsport is a perfect place to hold such a hearing, given the massive economic growth they have experienced from the natural gas industry.
The drilling industry helped give the Williamsport area the seventh fastest growing economy the United States in 2010. It also helped stem the population loss Williamsport had been experiencing. For decades, the city was losing a few thousand people every ten years. For the first time in ta long time, those losses were cut in half. Impact fees have also been helpful to the County, bringing in $4.3 million in Act 13 Impact Fees in 2012.
Economic considerations should not drive the debate when evaluating regulatory changes, but they should be part of the discussion and it is encouraging that DEP is holding so many hearings across the Commonwealth to hear from the public.