PA DEP Says Chevron Blocked Access to Greene County Well Fire

On Feb. 11 Chevron’s Lanco 7H well in Greene County, PA exploded and caught fire. Although it’s not clear what caused the explosion, workers were connecting the well to a gathering pipeline (i.e. welding) and it’s not much of a stretch to connect the dots. One of the workers at the site tragically lost his life (see Remains of Chevron Contractor Found at Greene County Well Site). The fire at Lanco 7H spread to the well next it–Lanco 6H. After five days the twin fires were put out and eventually the wells were capped (see Chevron Well Fire Update: 2nd Well Capped, Work on 7 Wells Stopped).

Both the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Chevron continue to investigate what went wrong. However, three weeks ago the DEP issued a preliminary Notice of Violation about the accident and fires (see it embedded below). The surprising revelation in the NOV is that Chevron blocked DEP personnel from accessing the site for two days while the fire burned. DEP personnel, by law, have carte blanche access to any well anywhere at any time. Chevron was no doubt trying to protect the DEP agents, however, blocking them from the site clearly rankled the agency and will now be part of a fine they eventually assess on Chevron…

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