Report warns of gas drilling’s health, environmental impacts

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FILE—In this file photo from March 12, 2020, work continues at a shale gas well drilling site in St. Mary’s, Pa. Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro is scheduled to release results on Thursday June 25, 2020 of a grand jury investigation into natural gas hydraulic fracturing. The fracking process has raised environmental concerns while turning the state into a major energy producer. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A grand jury investigation into Pennsylvania’s large natural gas drilling industry released Thursday by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro has found systematic failures in state departments regulating that industry.

The report comes after nearly two years of investigation into the state’s Marcellus Shale exploration industry. It notes that the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and State Department of Health failed to protect Pennsylvanians by not policing or investigating environmental complaints, failed to collect health data and failed to warn the public when they were at risk.

The grand jury recommends giving Shapiro’s office the ability to criminally investigate the industry as well as other increased regulations.

FILE—In this file photo from March 12, 2020, the flag of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania flies on the drilling rig as work continues at a shale gas well drilling site in St. Mary’s, Pa. Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro is scheduled to release results on Thursday June 25, 2020 of a grand jury investigation into natural gas hydraulic fracturing. The fracking process has raised environmental concerns while turning the state into a major energy producer. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

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