Pa. state environmental again targeted for budget cuts

    Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection is again the target for budget cuts. But they won’t be nearly as deep as last year’s. Despite the cutbacks, Environmental Secretary John Hanger, is telling state lawmakers that Pennsylvania is still doing a good job protecting the environment.

    Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection is again the target for budget cuts.  But they won’t be nearly as deep as last year’s. Despite the cutbacks, Environmental Secretary John Hanger, is telling state lawmakers that Pennsylvania is still doing a good job protecting the environment.
    Scott Detrow has more from Harrisburg.

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    97 DEP employees lost their jobs last year, when the department’s budget was slashed by $58 million. The Rendell Administration is proposing another $3.8 million reduction.
    Hanger told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee the cuts haven’t hurt DEP’s ability to provide environmental oversight, noting more drilling inspectors are being funded through an alternative revenue stream.

    Hanger: The department was able to, with the support of this legislature, able to raise the fees for Marcellus drilling and other gas drilling. And we’ve added – this year we’ll be adding 67 employees to the gas oversight.

    Environmental advocacy groups have said DEP is woefully unprepared to monitor the impending surge of natural gas drillers who are expected to set up shop in the state’s Marcellus Shale formation.
    Hanger has strongly disagreed with that criticism, pointing to fines the department has levied against drilling companies for pollution and water contamination.

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