The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the guise of the Clean Water Act (CWA), is poking it’s unwanted nose into Marcellus Shale gas drilling—again. Yesterday the EPA announced a settlement with PDC Mountaineer for what they say are violations of the CWA at four locations (for two gas wells). The company will pay a fine of $177,500, in addition to paying big bucks to restore problems they created while drilling two wells in Harrison County, West Virginia.
What was PDC’s environmental crime? They drained a one-acre swamp (euphemistically called a “wetland”) without getting permission. Even though PDC has agreed to pay the fine and restore the swamp (if they can), as part of the deal they did not admit to any violations of the CWA.