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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

DEP Revokes Permits For Two Gas Well Drillers In Potter & Tioga Counties

Drillers Ordered To Stop Work
Williamsport – The Department of Environmental Protection has revoked three erosion and sedimentation control general permits previously issued to Ultra Resources Inc. and Fortuna Energy Inc. due to technical deficiencies, and has sent notice of violation letters to the three licensed professionals who prepared the applications.

“DEP took this action because of numerous technical deficiencies discovered after our approval of the permits,” said DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell.

The erosion and sedimentation control general permits are required whenever more than five acres of earth will be disturbed during construction of natural gas well drilling pads or natural gas pipelines.

As part of an expedited permit review process that DEP announced earlier this year, a licensed professional engineer, surveyor, geologist or landscape architect must submit a notice of intent and supporting documentation to DEP, including a certification that the information submitted meets the permit requirements.

DEP staff performs an administrative completeness review, but relies on the professional’s certification that the application is technically correct and meets all the permit requirements.

The technical deficiencies in both permits included inaccurate calculations, failure to provide best management practices where required, and lack of proper technical detail.

The permit revocations mean that Ultra Resources and Fortuna Energy must immediately halt all earth disturbance activities at the sites except those necessary to install or maintain erosion and sediment control or post-construction and site restoration best management practices.

The Ultra Resources permit was for sites in Gaines and Elk townships, Tioga County, and Pike and Abbott townships, Potter County. The Fortuna permit covered sites in Ward and Jackson townships, Tioga County.

Neither company is eligible to re-submit notices of intent requesting the expedited permit process for those locations.

The three permits were appealed to the state Environmental Hearing Board by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in August and September, prompting DEP officials to re-examine the permits to determine if they met the regulatory requirements.

In its letter to the three licensed professionals, DEP warns that additional enforcement action may be taken against them, including possible referral to the Department of State, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs for disciplinary action.

The licensed professionals receiving the letters include James Gensel of Fagan Engineers in Elmira, N.Y.; Karl Matz of Larson Design Group Inc. in Williamsport; and K. Robert Cunningham of Cunningham Surveyors in Wellsboro.

For more information, call 570-327-3659 or visit www.depweb.state.pa.us keyword: Oil and gas.

12 comments :

Anonymous said...

They won't fix the violations, but just watch, they'll come up with a "plan" and get their permits back.

Anonymous said...

GOOD DEAL!!!!! The sedimentation that is occuring in Elk Run, which runs into Pine Creek is criminal!

Anonymous said...

Well at least the trucks that have been rumbling through Watrous and Elk Run 24 hours a day have stopped. Maybe we can finally get some sleep tonight.

Anonymous said...

Just the state with its hand out !More money!Happens every day!

Anonymous said...

Don't be silly. If the state was looking for handouts, they'd be taxing the gas.

Anonymous said...

Thought they were cutting DEP 25%-Wish they would. All they do is harass business and industry!

Anonymous said...

Don't blame the gas exploration companys.Blame the crooks they hired.Certifying lies seems to be common for one of these companys.Lost property in court for just this reason.

Anonymous said...

If you see 'criminal action' taking place in the streams, please turn them in! DEP, F&B count on Joe Public to turn in violators. They obviously don't have enough staff to oversee all these operations.
As for a licensed surveyor or landscape architect being allowed to perform calculations for flows, this seems odd 5:30pm. What's a surveyor or landscape architect know about drilling? I thought that would be an engineers or geologists job? but what do I know.. ;)

Anonymous said...

Good point 7:44 If you see dumping or anything suspicious. TURN IT IN to the DEP, Fish and Wildlife, anyone who will listen. Maybe we can police this drilling ourselves. If we don't watch them, they certainly aren't going to watch themselves!

Anonymous said...

Even the state gets fed up with people crying wolf!

Anonymous said...

I am glad they stopped this Gaines well drilling operation, they drained the Pine Creek and caused traffic jams on Rt6 and Watrous roads with their non stop trucking.
Guess who's paying for their destroying our roads? Big rigs on our back country roads meant for farming and residential traffic has caused excessive damage to the swale and drainage along the roads, not to mention the pot holes that could swollow up a whole car.. WE PAY TAXES!!! So should they to repair the damage.

Anonymous said...

October 29, 2009 12:00:00 PM
YOU do not pay for the repairs needed on these roads THEY are using, THEY ARE, it is called road bonding. Know what you are talking about or do not post!