LTE: DEP Needs More Resources

Rep. Greg Vitali is chairman of the Environmental Resource and Energy Committee

January 15, 2023 – Letter to the Editor

The article “Pa. gas drilling report criticizes industry for failing to report abandoned gas wells” (Jan. 5, TribLIVE) outlines a recent Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) report which found substantial noncompliance of state laws and regulations by the Pennsylvania conventional oil and gas industry with regard to the improper abandonment of conventional oil and gas wells and the failure to report drilling activity.

“This noncompliance is not surprising because the DEP has been starved of enforcement resources for years.”

Rep. Greg Vitali, Chairman of the Environmental Resource & Energy Committee

This noncompliance is not surprising because the DEP has been starved of enforcement resources for years.

The DEP’s Oil and Gas Program has oversight over the almost 80,000 Pennsylvania oil and gas wells now in production. In 2015, the DEP had 226 filled positions in its oil and gas program. Today it is down to 176. It simply needs more boots on the ground.

Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro’s upcoming budget proposal should fully fund DEP.

Rep. Greg Vitali
Havertown, PA

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Rep. Greg Vitali’s Biography

CHAMPION OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Greg has dedicated his life to environmental protection. He is considered by many to be the leading environmental legislator in Harrisburg. He has received numerous statewide environmental awards.

Greg has served for 25 years on the Environmental Resource and Energy Committee — three as Democratic Chairman.

His primary focus has been on climate and energy. He was the first Pennsylvania legislator to introduce climate change legislation and the first to introduce the idea of a severance tax on natural gas.

Greg has also been recognized as a strong advocate for brick and mortar public schools, women’s rights, criminal justice reform, sensible gun control policies, government reform, and equality for all under the law.

Greg has often been referred to as “the Conscience of the Legislature” because of the principled stands he takes on issues. He is not afraid to speak truth to power. His frank and blunt style often puts him at odds with powerful politicians.

Greg is a lifetime resident of Haverford Township and graduate of St. Joseph’s Prep. He received his B.S in Economics (cum laude) from Villanova University and his J.D from Villanova University School of Law.

As a solo practitioner in Havertown for 12 years, Greg learned both how laws affect real people and how to run a small business.

In 1992, building on his success as a community activist and knocking on nearly every door in the neighborhood, Greg became the first Democrat ever elected to the 166th Legislative District of Pennsylvania.

As an adjunct professor at Villanova University, Greg taught classes on state and local government. Source