Dear editor,

I am writing in response to the Dec 5 front page article about State Senator Hutchinson’s proposed legislation to stop the state Department of Environmental Protection from using remote surveillance equipment and unmarked vehicles to enforce laws at oil and gas sites throughout Pennsylvania.

I would be in favor of such legislation if it restricted the surveillance of all Pennsylvania citizens by all law enforcement agencies. I do not understand how the use of video surveillance and unmarked vehicles by the DEP against oil producers would be any more egregious than those same tactics used by the state police or game commission or fish commission against ordinary law abiding citizens. (Of course, if a court order or warrant was obtained for a specific individual and purpose then such surveillance should be allowed.)

I hope that Senator Hutchinson does not operate under the philosophy that his legislative responsibilities begin and end with requests from his large campaign contributors.

We should not have special laws for special people. Instead, Senator Hutchinson should propose legislation that protects all Pennsylvania citizens from warrantless government surveillance.


John McKown