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…

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