PA Department of Environmental Protection
Oil and gas exploration is regulated under the state oil and gas laws (Oil and Gas Act, Coal and Gas Resource Coordination Act, and Oil and Gas Conservation Law), and the environmental protection laws that include the Clean Streams Law, the Dam Safety Encroachments Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, and the Water Resources Planning Act The Department of Environmental Protection is responsible for reviewing and issuing well permits, inspecting drilling operations, and responding to complaints related to water supplies and other water quality problems.
DEP’s Bureau of Oil and Gas Management facilitates the safe exploration, development, and recovery of Pennsylvania's oil and gas reservoirs in a manner that will protect the Commonwealth's natural resources and the environment. It also develops policy and programs for the regulation of oil and gas development and production; oversees the oil and gas permitting and inspection programs; develops statewide regulation and standards; conducts training programs for industry and works with the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission and the Technical Advisory Board.
An operating gas company must secure a bond before applying for a well permit. It is DEP’s responsibility to approve bonds and well permits, inspect wells and environmental controls, and permit and inspect waste disposal facilities and waste management activities. Operators must submit reports on well completion, waste management, annual production and well plugging. Well operators are required to report production annually and state agencies must keep this information confidential for five years, except for enforcement proceedings, as provided in The Oil and Gas Act. DEP has the authority to take action to enforce compliance with applicable laws and to seek civil penalties for violations of these laws. Depending on the project’s acreage the local county conservation district may also play an important role in regulating construction activities relative to erosion and sedimentation control.
Many landowners and municipalities are interested in receiving notice of well permit applications. DEP has a no-cost subscription service called ENotice that notifies land owners and municipalities with an email when a well permit application is received. This systems enables land owners and municipalities to receive notice of a permit application at the same time that DEP receives the application. ENotice can be accessed through DEP’s website: http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/ .
For more information about DEP: http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/
Also visit the DEP's Marcellus Shale page .