Pennsylvania Attorney General Slams Fracking Companies, Wolf Admin, and PA Department of Environmental Protection

Sierra Club Applauds Josh Shapiro for Strong Statements on Fracking Industry

Doug Jackson, 202.495.3045 or

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Today, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the results of a grand jury report on the harms of fracking, and had scathing words for fracking companies and Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The grand jury’s recommendations:

  1. Expanding no-drill zones in Pennsylvania from the required 500 feet to 2,500 feet

  2. Requiring fracking companies to publicly disclose all chemicals used in drilling and hydraulic fracturing before they are used on-site

  3. Requiring the regulation of gathering lines, used to transport unconventional gas hundreds of miles

  4. Adding up all sources of air pollution in a given area to accurately assess air quality

  5. Requiring safer transport of the contaminated waste created from fracking sites

  6. Conducting a comprehensive health response to the effects of living near unconventional drilling sites

  7. Limiting the ability of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection employees to be employed in the private sector immediately after leaving the Department

  8. Allowing the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General original criminal jurisdiction over unconventional oil and gas companies

Shapiro said that Pennsylvania’s government needed to “earn back [the] trust” of Pennsylvanians who had been “abandoned” by it. Shapiro also blasted the cozy relationship and revolving door between fossil fuel companies and the government of Pennsylvania, going so far as to accuse DEP of “spewing back a lot of talking points from the [fracking] industry.” Shapiro also felt it necessary to create a hotline for suspected fracking and wastewater violations because DEP’s response was so inadequate. Pennsylvanians can call 570.904.2643 or email to report potential violations.

The Sierra Club has long sought to highlight the threats fracking poses to the health of Pennsylvania’s water, climate, and communities, and is demanding the Wolf administration immediately implement the recommendations in the grand jury report and establish a moratorium on fracked gas permitting.

In response, Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter Director Tom Torres released the following statement:

"The Sierra Club thanks Attorney General Shapiro for demanding changes to the fracking industry and calling out its long history of putting their profits over Pennsylvania’s air, water, and people. We appreciate the work of Shapiro and the grand jury to establish these recommendations and we demand that Governor Wolf implement them immediately.

“The days of fracking companies running roughshod through our Commonwealth are over. Governor Wolf should take action immediately.”


About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit