By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG (CBS) — Pennsylvania’s auditor general has released a report critical of the Department of Environmental Protection’s regulation of the natural gas drilling industry.

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Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the audit, covering the period of 2009 through 2012, shows that the rapid growth of the shale gas industry caught the Department of Environmental Protection unprepared to adequately protect drinking water and respond to complaints.

“DEP is underfunded, understaffed and inconsistent in how it approached shale gas development,” DePasquale said.

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Patrick Henderson, the governor’s point man on energy issues says the audit doesn’t reflect the improvements made under Corbett’s tenure.

“It’s critically important to look at what was the scope of this audit, the timeline of this audit, and as DEP notes in its response, [it] in many ways looks back at how the program used to be, not how it is,” Henderson said.

DePasquale says while there is disagreement with DEP on his agency’s findings, there is agreement on all but seven of 29 recommendations for improvement.

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