Emily Krafjack, Mehoopany Township resident and President of C.O.G.E.N.T., was appointed on March 9 as one of nine members of Governor Tom Wolf’s Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board.
On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the members of the Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board (TAB), whose task it is to increase transparency and communication about regulating the unconventional oil and gas drilling industry. “Unconventional” is the term assigned to the horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing methods employed in most of the state’s new gas fields.
Among the new appointees is Emily Krafjack, President of Connection for Oil, Gas & Environment in the Northern Tier, Inc. (C.O.G.E.N.T.) The Mehoopany Township resident rose to prominence among other shale experts in 2011 as a self-taught community advocate, motivated by her personal experiences as natural gas exploration and extraction literally pulled up to her rural back door.
She served briefly as a shale technical advisor to the Wyoming County Commissioners before forming C.O.G.E.N.T., a grassroots organization dedicated to finding the balance between a powerful industry that wants the natural gas beneath us and the Shalers, those landowners affected by drilling who desire to maintain the quality and relative safety of their rural lifestyles.
The TAB was authorized under the 2012 Oil and Gas Act to advise DEP in the formulation, drafting, and presentation stages of all regulations relating to unconventional oil and gas extraction. The TAB has the opportunity to review and comment on all regulations of the technical nature prior to the state’s Environmental Quality Board.
Five voting members of the advisory board, consisting of engineers and geologists with at least three years of experience in Pennsylvania, were chosen by Gov. Wolf. They include Fred J. Baldassare, David A .Yoxtheimer, Robert C. Hendricks, Casey V Saunders, and Bryan J. McConnell.
The four non-voting TAB members are all Pennsylvania residents and were selected by Acting DEP Secretary John Quigly. To the best of her knowledge, Krafjack is the only representative from the four-county Endless Mountains Region.
“I’m really pleased about this,” Krafjack related via email. “This is good for our region – to be at the table where regulations are discussed and recommendations are made. This will provide me with more opportunities to talk about the regulations and how they may effect us, as well as what we need.”
Krafjack had an opportunity to work with TAB subcommittees in 2013 and likely impressed DEP officials them with her first-hand knowledge and unique overview of the gas industry’s impact on northeastern Pennsylvania.
Additional non-voting members include John Walliser, W. Michael Griffin, and Barbara G. Kutchko. To learn more about the backgrounds and qualifications of all nine members as they relate to TAB interests, click on http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/newsroom/14287?id=20702&typeid=1