PA DEP Fines Chesapeake $1.4M for 4-Year Old Landslide

Make Him an Offer He Can't RefuseWe’ll let you decide whether the recent action by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) is in line with being a good regulatory watchdog, or with being a mafia Don, using the power of the government to shake down a drilling company. On Sept. 15, 2011 as Chesapeake Energy was drilling the Stinger 8H well in Aleppo Township (Greene County), PA, in an area known for its landslides–they experienced (yes) a landslide. The landslide created sediment that plugged about one-fourth of a mile of seven “streams” so tiny they don’t have names–essentially drainage ditches. The seven drainage ditches, when they have water in them, flow into a very small creek called Harts Run. In return Harts Run, which crosses the border into West Virginia, eventually empties into a slightly bigger creek called Pennsylvania Fork Fish Creek, which eventually empties into Fish Creek (slightly bigger again), which eventually empties into the Ohio River–on the other side of WV where it borders with Ohio. There is zero chance any of the sediment made it beyond Harts Run, let alone all the way to the Ohio. But still, it’s not a good thing if you’re not “careful” to prevent what the Guvment believes you should be able to prevent. Chesapeake, since that time (over four years ago), has essentially fixed the problem–spending millions to do so. Apparently there’s a little bit of work left to do. The PA DEP comes along and yesterday announced that Chesapeake has agreed to pay the DEP a whopping $1.4 million fine for this four year-old accident, as well as do a bit of tidying up of the drainage ditches. Here’s the kicker–Chessy doesn’t even own that well any more…

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