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DEP announces review results of oil and gas program

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An independent peer review of the Office of Oil and Gas Management within the state Department of Environmental Protection has determined it is “proficient and ready” to handle increases in oil and gas operations in the commonwealth, according to a DEP news release.

The agency volunteered to have its program reviewed by the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations Inc., which evaluates strengths of programs and provides improvement recommendations, the release stated.

Improvement recommendations included encouraging the agency to keep consistent and standardized data for violation and enforcement-action tracking for the public and completing a study to make sure DEP is appropriately assessing production waste, according to the release.

Another recommendation was to consider development of additional guidance for sampling water wells before drilling, the release stated.

Strengths included increasing staff levels to address more permitting, inspection and enforcement activities because of unconventional gas well development, as well as initiating a comprehensive evaluation of radon levels associated with such development, according to the release.

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