PA DEP Slaps Range with Record $8.9M Fine for Methane Migration

slap across the faceLast September Range Resources was assessed a then-new record high fine of $4.15 million for a series of leaking frack wastewater impoundments in southwestern Pennsylvania (see PA DEP Fines Range Resources $4.15M for Wastewater Impoundments). A short time later, in October 2014, EQT replaced Range as the “highest ever” fine when the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) assessed EQT a $4.53 million fine for a leaky wastewater impoundment in northeastern PA, in Tioga County (see PA DEP Levies Biggest Fine Ever, $4.5M Against EQT). There’s a new mafia don, er a, “sheriff” in town–PennFuture DEP Secretary John Quigley–and he’s just slapped Range Resources with a new highest-ever fine nearly double EQT’s fine: $8.9 million. The offense? Methane migration from a well in Lycoming County, PA. The DEP says the Range well, drilled in 2011, has been leaking methane since at least 2013 (improperly cemented well casing) and the methane has “contaminated the groundwater-fed wells of private water supplies, and a nearby stream.” The DEP doesn’t say how many water wells have been affected nor which stream is affected…

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