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By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — The public forum, "Protecting the Environment One Day at a Time: How the DEP Regulates Drilling in the Marcellus Shale," will be held Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Gallery Theatre of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.
The keynote speaker is Stephen Brokenshire, a mineral resources program specialist for the Office of Oil and Gas Management with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The forum, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Central Susquehanna Citizens Coalition (CSCC).
It is co-hosted by the Bucknell University Environmental Center and the Marcellus Shale Initiative, a partnership between Bucknell, the Forum for Pennsylvania's Heartland, Degenstein Foundation and Geisinger Health System dedicated to supporting objective research and critical evaluation of information related to the Marcellus Shale natural gas.
DEP duties and roles
Brokenshire will discuss the duties and roles of the Pennsylvania DEP in regulating Marcellus Shale activities. His presentation will be followed by 30 minutes of interactive discussion; audience members are encouraged to ask questions and share their thoughts.
As a mineral resources program specialist, Brokenshire's primary job duties include developing, interpreting and recommending changes to rules, regulations, policies and procedures for the Office of Oil and Gas Management; conducting evaluations of regional or district programs to ensure uniformity of actions and to monitor progress in attaining program goals and objectives; developing technical program guidances; conducting technical investigations of issues and problems with significant statewide impact; conducting training for field personnel and the regulated community; and representing the Office of Oil and Gas on special committees and in dealings with federal or interstate agencies.
With the DEP for nearly 11 years, Brokenshire has worked as a sanitarian, environmental protection compliance specialist, water quality specialist and mineral resources program specialist. Previously he worked for the A.E. Kirby Memorial Health Center's Environmental Laboratory in Wilkes-Barre as a laboratory technician. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in earth and environmental science from Wilkes University with a concentration in water quality.
Bringing information to the Valley
"Environmental protection and regulation are clearly at the heart of the debate over Marcellus Shale and its long-term effect on Pennsylvania's economy and well-being," said Jove Graham, chairman of the CSCC.
"On one hand, some groups claim Pennsylvania has very strict environmental regulations already, but on the other hand, many residents worry that the current level of environmental regulation isn't enough, particularly when it comes to ensuring clean drinking water for everyone. People on either side may not really know the details of how current regulations are enforced or whether the rapid growth of the industry has really allowed the Commonwealth to keep up with enforcing those regulations.
"Our group's mission is to bring interesting speakers and information to citizens in the Susquehanna Valley that will allow them to stay up-to-date on important topics like this one. Brokenshire brings first-hand knowledge and front-line experience as he is an environmental scientist who spends every day carrying out state policies to oversee this large industry. We hope that interested citizens can attend this talk and make their own decisions about the debate over shale drilling," he said.
For more information, call 570-522-0418 or visit www.csccnow.org.
Contact: Division of Communications