PA DEP Levies Biggest Fine Ever, $4.5M Against EQT

bad bloodWe’ve got some bad blood happening between EQT–a big Marcellus driller headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA–and the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). The DEP has just filed a lawsuit against EQT to force the company to cough up a new record–$4.53 million in fines–for a leaky wastewater impoundment in Tioga County, PA. The fine comes a week after the anti-drilling PA Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, once again abused her office’s powers by filing criminal charges against EQT (see today’s companion story). The DEP says EQT filed for and received permission to build a freshwater impoundment at that location in 2012, but after the impoudment was built, they decided to change and use it for frack wastewater. Problem is, with a wastewater impoundment you need monitoring wells drilled around the impoundment and extra protections that were lacking because it was supposed to be used for freshwater only. EQT then built a second impoundment next to it for wastewater and did install monitoring wells, figuring those monitoring wells would cover both impoundments. The first impoundment leaked and, according to the DEP, EQT just doesn’t get how serious the problems were/are that resulted, and so they’ve slapped them with their biggest single fine ever. EQT is already fighting back both legally and with their own press release…
Continue reading

PA Attorney Gen. Kane Abuses Office Again, Arrest Warrant for EQT

Last year Pennsylvania’s anti-drilling Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, abused her office and filed criminal charges against XTO Energy over a spill of fracking wastewater at a site in Lycoming County, PA that happened more than three years ago–long before she took office (see PA AG Abuses Her Authority, Files Criminal Charges Against XTO). In a Britney Spears “Oops!…I Did It Again” moment, Kane has filed a second case of criminal charges against a driller over an accident. Last week Kane filed charges against EQT over a leaky wastewater impoundment in Tioga County, PA. Yesterday the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection fined EQT $4.53 million–it’s highest ever fine–over the same incident (see today’s lead story). Kane is claiming that EQT polluted and disturbed PA waterways and committed misdemeanor crimes in the process…
Continue reading

Seismic Testing Company Behaves Badly in Greene County, PA

The following story makes us very angry. Provided the details are accurate and true–we have no reason to believe they aren’t–Geokinetics (a seismic testing company) and Cougar Land Services (landmen) have behaved badly toward a landowner in Greene County, PA that didn’t want any testing done on his land. To be fair, the property owner does not own the mineral rights under his land and doesn’t know who does. However, neither the landman nor the seismic testing company that attempted to (in our opinion) trespass on his property to do the testing notified him that they had permission from the mineral rights owner. And even if they did have permission from the mineral rights owner, they should have handled the testing in a far different manner than they did. The following article is from PublicSource in Pittsburgh. Yes, PublicSource is largely an anti-drilling news organization–but provided the reporting is accurate, truth is truth, no matter where it comes from…
Continue reading

EQT’s WV to VA Pipeline Open Season a Success, FERC Filing in Oct

In early September MDN told you that EQT and NextEra Energy were getting hitched–in a joint venture for the 330-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline project that will run from Wetzel County, WV to Pittsylvania County, VA (see EQT & NextEra Tie the Knot on WV-VA Pipeline Joint Venture). The happy couple, with EQT in charge, announced a binding open season for the proposed pipeline. Yesterday EQT said the open season has been successful with 2 billion cubic feet of capacity locked up in 20 year deals–but they’re waiting a few more days, until this Friday, before closing the door. EQT also said yesterday they expect to begin their pre-filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) later this month. Later this year they’ll begin open houses to discuss the project with communities where the pipeline will run. If everything goes according to plan, the pipeline will go online sometime around November 2018…
Continue reading

PPG Tries to Prop Up Discredited/Shamed PA Rep Jesse White

You know that anti-drilling State Rep. Jesse White (Cecil, Washington County, PA) is in trouble when the Democrat editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes time to author an entire editorial to make excuses for his deranged behavior in attacking his own constituents by using fake online identities–pretending to be some of his own pro-drilling constituents and posting comments as them to make them look bad (see How the Mighty Have Fallen: PA Rep White Admits Guilt, Not Sorry). It’s sick, it’s unpardonable, and at a minimum unethical–perhaps even illegal. He should have been tossed out of office a year ago when it was exposed–but there you go. Behaving badly is a resume enhancer in the PA Democrat Party and now White’s fellow Dems on the editorial board of the PPG have to hold their noses and try to keep him in office with their lame “approval” of him…
Continue reading

EPA Extends Comment Period for Power-Grab Under CWA

The federal Environmental Protection Agency, as MDN reported in April of this year, continues to attempt grabbing away states’ rights for themselves. We told you about their attempt to redefine not just “navigable” but all waterways as being subject to the 1972 Clean Water Act (see Altoona Hearing on Latest EPA Outrage: Redefining Clean Water Act). If every piddly creek, stream, swamp and small river in every state is subject to the CWA, it’s then subject to the EPA and to Obama’s “imperial presidency,” as PA Congressman Bill Shuster calls it. The EPA announced they are extending the comment period on their latest outrageous power-grab proposal to Nov. 14th…
Continue reading

Anti-Drillers Don’t Like Being “Spied On” While They Do Bad Things

When anti-drillers cross the line and trespass on private property, and then get called out for it, the squeal like a stuck pig (see NE PA Anti-Driller Slapped with Trespassing Injunction). Sometimes anti-drillers are more than loony, they’re dangerous to themselves and others (see Protesters Shut Down Anadarko Drill Site in Lycoming County, PA). Sometimes anti-drillers cross the line and engage in what we would call terrorist acts (see Protesters Get Violent, Shut Down OH Frack Water Plant). Is it any wonder that drillers and pipeline companies have to keep a sharp eye out for those who would do them–and their employees–harm? Is it much of a stretch that drillers and pipeline companies might pass along information to the authorities if they’re concerned? And how do anti-drillers respond? By claiming they’re being “spied on” and that the state police are colluding with drillers to hush up the so-called protesters…
Continue reading