Federal EPA Demands Answers from Chesapeake Energy on Well Blowout in Bradford County Last Week

Chesapeake Energy has successfully replaced a wellhead that was defective and had caused a blowout with fracking fluid escaping from a well in Leroy Township near Canton in Bradford County, PA last week. Over a two day period, fracking fluid ran over neighboring land and some of it into a nearby stream that empties into the Towanda Creek. (Read MDN’s original article on the blowout here.)

The PA State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is investigating the blowout and the potential environmental damage it may have caused. But that’s not good enough for the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA is now throwing its weight around. In a letter to Chesapeake citing the Clean Water Act and various other federal statutes, the EPA is demanding that Chesapeake provide a list of details to the EPA about the incident by May 9.

A press released issued yesterday afternoon by the EPA indicated they have requested information from Chesapeake Energy officials regarding the spill, such as: information on the hydraulic fracturing fluids used in the drilling process at the well; the water, land and air affected by the release; and any private well, surface water and soil sampling data collected in the area before and after the April 19 incident.

“We want a complete accounting of operations at the site to determine our next steps in this incident and to help prevent future releases of this kind,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin.*

*CoudyNews.com (Apr 26, 2011) – Feds Step into Bradford County Fracking Spill Investigation

Below is the 23 page letter sent to Chesapeake by the EPA.

  • Amifunding

    FYI: What’s missing from the MDN analysis is that more often than not, the EPA orchestrates cover-ups on behalf of the Oil and Gas Industry and the Nuclear Industry.

    When the EPA starts throwing it’s weight around in matters regarding these two industries it’s just theater. It’s a pretense of a “big investigation” just to appease those who are concerned about environmental damages.

    The useful idiots, i.e. uninformed bloggers, on both sides of the issue get played quite effectively.

  • Jeff

    So far I have not heard of any drastic impacts from this spill. Frac fluid running right into a waterway- this is the anti’s worst nightmare, or maybe dream come true depending on how you look at it. Either way this could be an good opportunity for the gas companies to put a positive spin on this if there is little or no damage from this spill. To have frac fluid running into a stream resulting in little to no impact should prove that “chemical laden frac fluid” is not as dangerous as the anti’s would like everyone to believe.

  • Geobill

    yikes that is a ton of stuff and should keep Chesapeake’s consultants busy for the next two weeks. Well you screw up and you will have to deal with stuff like this. This does seem like an overkill to me. Why doesn’t the EPA communicate with industry folks and with EPA folks who understand oil and gas operations? It seems like total reinvention of the wheel. Well best not to have spills in the first place.

  • Well said Jeff.

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