Matzie urges DEP to deny new PennEnergy petition to withdraw water from Big Sewickley Creek
Says nothing has changed since denial of prior request
AMBRIDGE, April 8 – Responding to PennEnergy’s renewed request to withdraw millions of gallons of water per day from the Big Sewickley Creek in Economy Borough, state Rep. Rob Matzie is calling on the Department of Environmental Protection to deny the company’s petition for a second time.
In a letter this week to DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell, Matzie restated concerns over lasting environmental damage and the loss of recreational opportunities and said nothing has changed to warrant a reversal of the agency’s previous denial.
“When I wrote to you in July of last year, I listed a variety of reasons why this is a bad idea,” Matzie wrote in the letter. “Nothing contained in the new application changes that; fishing will still be impacted, wildlife species will still be threatened, and summer drought conditions will still be exacerbated.”
PennEnergy is seeking to withdraw the creek water for use in natural gas extraction – a practice Matzie supports provided there are strong environmental protections in place and local input.
“In most cases, I believe we can have a strong, diverse energy portfolio and maintain a clean, healthy environment,” Matzie wrote in the letter. “But not in this case, not from this waterway, and not with this application.”
Matzie said that in denying PennEnergy’s 2021 petition last October, DEP cited seven serious deficiencies, but he believes one alone – the lack of enough sufficient information on whether PennEnergy’s actions would create a substantial environmental risk – should have been sufficient to deny its request.