Rep. Howard calls for cleanup and investigation following Marsh Creek spill

Energy Transfer Partners have been given ample opportunity to prove themselves, yet time after time, they have not lived up to their responsibilities, and are seemingly incapable of meeting the topographical challenges associated with drilling and digging in Chester County. Their actions put our waterways and streams at risk and have created conditions ripe for the formation of sinkholes and other problems. The drilling fluid spill in Marsh Creek State Park is only the most recent in a long line of mistakes and repeated violations by this operator.

I am thankful for Gov. Wolf's responsiveness in taking the important first step of indefinitely suspending the drilling that led to the Marsh Creek incident. Now the experts can conduct a full investigation and review in order to determine next steps.

Of course, ETP should be held accountable, and in addition to expeditious cleanup and mitigation efforts, ETP must foot the bill for an independent analysis of the spill’s effect on the local ecosystem.

As a legislator, I am focused on forward-thinking ways to increase communication efforts, transparency and safety regulations. But the legislature can only do so much. Diligent oversight is the purview of our regulatory agencies. We must ensure these agencies do their jobs to uphold the Pennsylvania Constitution’s promise of clean air and pure water.

I demand accountability and transparency. We all should. It may be that more drastic steps need to be taken to protect our wetlands, streams and waterways from the ill effects of poorly planned construction activities. We can make that determination when the studies and reviews of our regulatory agencies are expeditiously completed.