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Thursday, April 15, 2010

DEP SHUTS DOWN CABOT OIL & GAS DRILLING STATEWIDE

DEP Takes Aggressive Action Against Cabot Oil & Gas Corp to Enforce Environmental Laws Protect Public in Susquehanna County
Suspends Review of Cabot’s New Drilling Permit Applications Orders Company to Plug Wells Install Residential Water Systems In Dimock, PA; Pay $240,000 in Fines


HARRISBURG -- The Department of Environmental Protection today issued a sweeping order requiring Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. to take extensive actions and help the residents of Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, who have been affected by the company’s drilling activities.

Under the consent order and agreement, Cabot must plug three wells within 40 days that are believed to be the source of migrating gas that has contaminated groundwater and the drinking water supplies of 14 homes in the region. It must also install permanent treatment systems in those homes within 30 days.

Additionally, DEP Secretary John Hanger said his agency is immediately suspending its review of Cabot’s pending permit applications for new drilling activities statewide until it fulfills its obligations under the order issued today. Cabot also is barred from drilling any new wells for at least one year in the Dimock Township area.

Today’s action follows Cabot’s failure to abide by the terms of a November 2009 consent order and agreement with DEP.

“Cabot had every opportunity to correct these violations, but failed to do so. Instead, it chose to ignore its responsibility to safeguard the citizens of this community and to protect the natural resources there,” said Hanger. “I have ordered that all of Cabot’s permit applications for further drilling in any region of the state be put on-hold, indefinitely, until the region’s homeowners receive their new water treatment systems, the fines are paid, and the wells are plugged.

“Gas migration is a serious issue that can have dire consequences to affected communities and we will not allow Pennsylvania’s citizens to be put in harms way by companies that chose not to follow the law.”
During recent inspections, DEP identified five additional defective Cabot gas wells and another home water supply that has been affected by gas migration, bringing to 14 the number of impacted water supplies in the Dimock area.
Hanger said DEP also will continue to investigate another 10 Cabot gas wells in the Dimock area over the next 85 days that could be sources of migrating gas and determine whether Cabot should be ordered to plug some or all of those wells.

The original November 2009 consent order and agreement directed Cabot to meet a March 31 deadline to fix defective cement and well casings on certain wells and to prevent the unpermitted natural gas discharge into groundwater that violated the state’s Clean Streams Law and the Oil and Gas Act. The company did not meet this deadline, while the migrating gas continues to impact water supplies at homes in a nine-square-mile area near Carter Road.

As part of today’s order, Cabot has also paid a $240,000 fine to the commonwealth, which has been deposited into the state’s well-plugging account. It also must pay $30,000 per month beginning in May until DEP has determined that the company has met its obligations under the 2009 order.

“Companies drilling in the Marcellus Shale have the legal responsibility to design and construct their wells to keep all gas contained within the wells and to prevent gas from moving into fresh groundwater. These standards are not mere suggestions or recommendations,” Hanger said. “Oil and gas companies doing business in Pennsylvania will follow the environmental rules and regulations put in place to protect citizens and our natural resources or face aggressive action by this department.”
Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. is headquartered in Houston, Texas with a mailing address in Pittsburgh.

For more information on oil and gas wells, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Oil and gas.

8 comments :

Anonymous said...

tHANKS, John Hanger. FOR DOING WHAT IS RIGHT.

Anonymous said...

YEA! ONE company making everyone else look bad,that take pride in their work

Anonymous said...

Amen to that, though I think this may be only the beginning...

Anonymous said...

CourtHouse Log Jam
Nice Main Page article

http://74.95.82.237:591/rconline/FMPro?-db=rconline.fp5&-format=record%5fdetail.html&-lay=detail&Category=Community&IsCurrent=Y&-max=20&-recid=12630503&-find=

Frustrations with lack of control over people working for the gas industry in the rotunda of the Bradford County Courthouse prompted the commissioners to lay down a list of rules. This led to protest from those affected and the subject of animated discussion at the April 8 meeting of the county commissioners. Photo by Wes Skillings
Bradford Commissioners Move to Rein in Courthouse Gas Gang - by Wes Skillings - 4/15/2010
"I work in courthouses all across the United States of America and when they see us coming they’ll do what they can to make sure we’re accommodated.”— Gas Industry Contractor
If you have been to the Bradford County Courthouse on a business day this year, you have likely noted its crowded and noisy atmosphere, particularly in the rotunda on the first floor—the spacious, open area encircled by various county offices. The rotunda hasn’t seemed so spacious, or open, of late because of what one courthouse employee calls the “gas gang”—employees of natural gas companies, as well as independent contractors, researching deeds and other documents on behalf of the burgeoning gas industry.
The commissioners say that it got so there were well over 100 of these people in the rotunda in the middle of the business day, and many seemed to be claiming places at a number of tables placed there for the public’s convenience, as personal office space. Many yak on cellphones, conversing with each other, creating a wall of noise greeting visitors to the historic courthouse.
There have been complaints that there is no room for anyone else—no places to sit for people there on county business, even for jury selection. There can be dozens of laptops at a time, plugging into county electricity, and it got so there were extension cords, some of them crossing doorways of county offices and creating unsafe situations.

“Last week it was so loud out there we had the door shut and we still couldn’t hear and carry on the business of our meeting,” said Commissioner Chairman Mark Smith, who has talked to management from the various gas companies a number of times in hopes that they would resolve the problem.

Anonymous said...

It's about time those poor people started to get some support from our states "watchdogs"!

Anonymous said...

DEC in New York got it right. Put on the brakes so we can get a better idea of what we're going to face with benzene, water pollution, radioactivity, TDS, torn up roads and forests, and so much more.

Anonymous said...

Agreed 11:09!!!! Especially when we already have so many examples (here in our own state and nationwide) of the troubles that seem to come along with all of this drilling.

Anonymous said...

SAME THING IN POTTER COUNTY! THE RECORDER WAS AS BAD AS THE REST - BUT THEN AGAIN, IT WOULD APPEAR HE HAS A STAKE IN THE INDUSTRY. THESE OIL PEOPLE WILL BE GONE BEFORE YOU KNOW IT - THEN WHAT WILL YOU BITCH ABOUT? EVERYONE IS OUT TO GET A PIECE OF THE PIE, SO WILL BRADFORD, MCKEN OR POTTER COUNTIES KISS BUTTS - YOU BET AND JUST LOOK .... THEY ARE! LOOK WHO IS LEADING THE TX C H A R G E IN POTTER - SUCH A LITTLE MAN WITH IDEAS THAT WOULD APPEAR HE KNOWS NOT WHAT HE IS DOING. THANK YOU COMMISSIONER SMITH - AT LEAST YOU ARE "ONE" COMMISSIONER WHO CERTAINLY HAS A PAIR OF THEM!