Fracking companies might be violating drilling rules all over the place, but in Pennsylvania, landowners who leased their property to gas companies likely have no idea. CNN Money reports:
That’s because the state agency charged with regulating the wells — the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) — does not have to notify landowners if a violation is discovered. Even if landowners inquire about safety violations, DEP records are often too technical for the average person and incomplete.
If landowners DO want to find out out about violations on their property — which can include “subpar cementing,” the sort of shoddy work that can lead to flammable drinking water — they have to go to the DEP and request the violation records in person. They have to schedule that meeting weeks in advance.
You’d think landowners would be outraged about being kept in the dark, but a lot of them seem not to care whether fracking companies have a big tapwater bonfire party on their lawns, as long as they’re getting a check. Environmental groups are concerned about these issues, but the landowners CNN talked to, at least, are mostly content to receive royalty payments and not think too hard about what the gas companies are doing on their land.