When Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer stepped to the mic at a shale oil and gas conference earlier this month, he offered one of his most candid descriptions to date of how he sees his mission as a regulator. His job, he said, is to protect the state not from the potential misdeeds of drillers but from those of the EPA.
“EPA has completely lost its concept of the rule of law,” Mr. Krancer charged, adding that he would remain watchful against any effort by the federal government to usurp state authority over hydraulic fracturing.
It was a small window into the mind of the top environmental regulator in a state now famous as ground zero of the current drilling boom, where the shale industry has enjoyed a virtually unprecedented bonanza.
Mr. Krancer described how foolhardy he thought it was to assume that the industry needed policing.
“We’ve been doing this safely in the United States for years and years and years,” he said with regards to hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
Along these lines, he dared his listeners to walk up to any American rigworker and to look that worker in the eye and tell say to his or her face that they shouldn’t be trusted to do their job safely.
“Actually, I don’t recommend that you do take that challenge,” he added, to knowing chuckles from the audience of shale gas industry representatives.