According to the Post-Gazette, the Department of Environmental Protection issued a new policy dealing with Marcellus Shale drilling-related water contamination.

[The new pol­icy has] department administration in Harrisburg instead of field offices decide whether residential water users should receive letters noti­fy­ing them about problems.

The month-old policy hasn’t stopped, held up or altered any contaminated-water deter­mi­na­tion letters. And the DEP said in response to questions that it would not result in delays to home­own­ers about water contamination.

However, critics are concerned that the policy allows high-level DEP officials in Harrisburg to decide not to issue, or delay issuing, con­t­a­m­i­na­tion deter­mi­na­tion letters rec­om­mended by a field office. A decision not to make that deter­mi­na­tion could save drilling com­pa­nies millions of dollars in groundwater reme­di­a­tion, water treatment or replacement costs, and lengthen the time it takes to fix the problems.

George Jugovic Jr., chief executive officer of Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, said, “Harrisburg is making a decision on the notification before action is taken…But it’s supposed to be a scientific decision based on water test results and the law. What [science] expertise in that does Krancer have?”