Recently, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette looked into every Marcellus Shale well permit that the Pennsylvania Department of Environment Protection’s website had listed. Once they knew where the wells were going in, they mapped it so that readers would be able to locate the wells.
Once the Department of Environmental Protection’s data was downloaded, the Post-Gazette discovered that there are 495 more wells producing gas – or ready to produce gas – than the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) has recorded as ever being drilled. 182 of those wells don’t even show up on the state’s Marcellus Shale permit list.
The discrepancies and other significant problems with the DEP’s Marcellus Shale data have caused problems for many companies, environmental organizations and drillers – as they rely on this information to analyze the industry. They have also caused quite the headache for Senate and House staff who have been attempting to make projections on how much revenue and impact the wells might generate for areas.
“There has been a frustration over the last six or seven months that DEP does not have information that is always beyond reproach,” said Drew Crompton, Chief of Staff to Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson.
“Every time I think I’ve got something locked down, it changes,” said Mr. Crompton.
With a significant error rate such as that, it’s obvious the DEP’s data isn’t clear and accurate. When the Post-Gazette first asked DEP to explain the discrepancy, the department would not take questions about why there was such a large error.
Both industry and environmentalists said that relying only on industry-provided data poses problems.