2010-06-24 / Local & State

Consequences Threatened Over Gas Industry Safety

By Marc Levy ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania’s top environmental regulator is warning of “serious consequences’’ for the state’s rapidly growing natural gas industry if companies are caught sacrificing safety for profits.

Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger told a state Senate committee Wednesday that the industry must improve its performance and stop well blowouts, gas migration and water pollution.

Hanger says his agency found no violations after inspecting several Pennsylvania wells being drilled by a company that was drilling a West Virginia well that caught fire.

However, Hanger declined to reveal the results so far of the investigation into the blowout of another Pennsylvania well earlier this month.

Hanger’s testimony came a day before a state board is to vote on proposed new standards that he views as crucial to protecting public waterways from polluted drilling wastewater.

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