HARRISBURG - Michael L. Krancer, Pennsylvania's secretary of environmental protection, had no shortage of metaphors to describe the reorganization he announced Tuesday of his agency, comparing it variously to a symphony, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and getting all the colors lined up in a Rubik's Cube.

Krancer, responding to increased Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling activity, said he was elevating the oil and gas management function into a separate office to "unify oversight of the industry."

Krancer said other DEP offices would be realigned.

A bureau of environmental cleanup and brownfields will be created to emphasize revitalization of industrial sites, he said. A new bureau of conservation and reclamation, which will include staff assigned to restoring streams affected by acid mine drainage, will consolidate water management functions.

He said there would be no layoffs in the 2,600-employee department.

In an e-mail Tuesday to DEP employees, Krancer said the reorganization was intended to correct the deparment's "drift away from its core mission of environmental protection." He cited one staff geologist who told Krancer she spent half of her time doing loan documentation instead of geology.

"I know that we all want to move the department back to essential environmental protection practices and permitting functions, or 'back to basics,' " he said.

The natural gas industry, which had complained about inconsistent enforcement, welcomed the announcement.

"Secretary Krancer's decision to reorganize, streamline, and modernize the DEP is a prudent step toward ensuring the agency can continue protecting the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians," Kathryn Z. Klaber, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, said in a statement.

But environmentalists, wary of Gov. Corbett's affinity for the gas industry, had some nautical metaphors to describe the reorganization.

"I am less interested in the arrangement of the deck chairs than in the direction of the boat," said Jan Jarrett, president of Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future.

For more details, go to www.depweb.state.pa.us.

Contact staff writer Andrew Maykuth
at 215-854-2947 or amaykuth@phillynews.com.