PA State Police Target Marcellus Drilling Truckers, Take 131 Trucks Off the Road in Just Two Days

On March 14 and 15 the Pennsylvania State Police conducted spot inspections of trucks involved in Marcellus Shale drilling activities—most of them hauling wastewater from drilling sites.

State police placed 131 trucks out of service during a two-day enforcement effort focusing on commercial vehicles hauling waste water from Marcellus shale natural gas drilling operations in the state, Commissioner Frank Noonan announced today.

Noonan said 731 commercial trucks were inspected March 14 and 15 during “Operation FracNET.” He said 14 drivers were placed out of service and state troopers issued 421 traffic citations and 824 written warnings. In addition, state Department of Environmental Protection personnel issued 35 citations and 13 written warnings. The most common violations involved faulty brakes and insufficient exterior lighting, Noonan said.*

MDN is not sure what to make of this. Safety important? Of course. Drilling, including how things get to and from the drill site, has to be safe for local residents. But issuing tickets for “faulty brakes and insufficient exterior lighting” sure sounds like trumped up charges—not a serious threat to safety. If a truck’s brakes are faulty, don’t you think the driver operating the rig, and the company that owns the rig, will get them fixed pronto (it’s the driver’s life at stake and the company’s property at stake). And if a running light along the side of a truck has a blown bulb—so what?

Something not quite right about this story.

*Observer-Reporter (Mar 23, 2011) – "Operation FracNET" takes 131 waste water trucks out of service