PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has changed its policy for water pollution cases that may be related to Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling.
The Post-Gazette of Pittsburgh reports today that department administrators in Harrisburg now decide whether residential water users should receive letters notifying them about problems. In the past, field offices made that decision.
The policy was not publicly announced and was distributed in an internal department email on Sept. 14, the newspaper reported.
A former department official told the newspaper that the policy baffles him.
George Jugovic Jr., president of the environmental group PennFuture, said the letters are ``supposed to be a scientific decision based on water test results and the law.'' He questioned whether top officials in Harrisburg have the experience to analyze tests.
A decision not to send a pollution determination letter could save drilling companies from having to pay for groundwater remediation, water treatment or water replacement costs when a dispute with a property owner arises.