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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Gas Driller Built Illegal Impoundment On Exceptional Wetlands In Tioga County

DEP Fines Seneca Resources Corp. $40,000 for Violations at Marcellus Operation in Tioga County

Company Illegally Impacted Exceptional Value Wetland Restoration Work Underway

WILLIAMSPORT -- The Department of Environmental Protection has fined a Marcellus Shale driller $40,000 and ordered it to correct multiple violations after discovering that the company illegally built an impoundment on wetlands in Tioga State Forest, jeopardizing an important natural resource.

DEP inspected the Bloss Township, Tioga County, site in March and found that Seneca Resources Corp. of Brookville had filled nearly one acre of “exceptional value” wetland without authorization, improperly built an impoundment, and caused sediment runoff by failing to institute erosion control best management practices.

The unauthorized fill in a wetland and sediment runoff were violations of the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law and the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act.

“Wetlands are highly protected in Pennsylvania for a number of reasons, but largely because many plant and animal species depend on them for survival,” said DEP North-central Regional Director Nels Taber. “Beyond that, they improve water quality providing a natural purification system, add to a healthy environment, and help control flooding. It’s important that we do everything possible to protect them, that’s why DEP requires a permit before a wetland can be impacted.”

Exceptional value wetlands receive special protection under DEP’s Chapter 105 Dam Safety and Waterway Management regulations based on certain characteristics. The wetland that was improperly filled by Seneca received the classification because it was located along the Johnson Creek floodplain, a wild trout stream in the Tioga River watershed.

DEP issued an Erosion and Sediment Control General Permit No. 1 to Seneca in November 2009 so the company could build a fresh water impoundment to store water for use in hydraulically fracturing Marcellus Shale natural gas wells.

To correct the violations, DEP’s Oil and Gas Program required Seneca to submit a wetland restoration and mitigation plan.

DEP approved the plan and the wetland restoration is underway. Seneca has removed fill from the impacted wetland, but not finished final grading or constructed the new, 0.86-acre exceptional value wetland.

5 comments :

Really??? said...

“Wetlands are highly protected in Pennsylvania"?????

Really?

If they are so highly protected THEN WHY WASN'T DEP MONITORING THIS COMPANY?

WHY DID THEY WAIT UNTIL THE DAMAGE WAS DONE????

WHY ARE THEY ISSUING MORE PERMITS THAN THEY CAN MONITOR???


I'll tell you why, it is all about the money, these permits are not cheap, and safety is second!!

These wetlands were ALLOWED to be endangered by DEP just as much as this company if you ask me!!!

Anonymous said...

0.86 acres?? Are you kidding me? After the well is in they would have reclaimed it anyway. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

They should be relieved of any other permits that they have been issued and not alowed to opperate in PA. Obviously they don't care about doing things according to the guidelines. This was a blatent act and the fine isn't near enough. Shut them down !

Anonymous said...

This is a tragedy, they claim that our wetlands are a valuable resource.. but they only fine them $40 thousand? I am disgusted with our agencies that say they are protecting us. Bull !!!!!

Anonymous said...

The state use to drain wet lands because of Malaria.Now they fine somebody because they try to make themselves a job at our exspense.We have 2 people watching 1 person work.This is ridiculous.