Range & PA DEP Settle re Alleged Methane Leak at Lycoming Well

Range Resources and the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) have officially “settled” something we thought was already settled–alleged methane migration from a well Range drilled in 2011. In June 2015, then-Secretary of the DEP, John Quigley, slapped Range with an $8.9 million fine–the largest such fine ever levied by the DEP (see PA DEP Slaps Range with Record $8.9M Fine for Methane Migration). Range’s enviro crime? Methane migration from a well in Lycoming County, PA. The DEP says the Range well, drilled in 2011, leaked methane since at least 2013 via an improperly cemented well casing, and the methane “contaminated the groundwater-fed wells of private water supplies, and a nearby stream.” Range and the landowner where the well is drilled say methane was in groundwater supplies long before Range drilled the well. Range fought the action tooth and nail, appealing the determination and fine to the PA Environmental Hearing Board (see PA DEP’s $8.9M Methane Migration Fine Appealed by Range Resources). In May 2016, the DEP quietly dropped the fine and the case against Range (see PA DEP Drops $8.9M Fine Against Range Res. re Methane Migration). We assumed that was the end of the matter. But alas, no. We now, finally, have an end. Both Range and the DEP filed paperwork with the Environmental Hearing Board (a special court set up to hear appeals of DEP decisions) requesting the matter now officially be closed and “settled.” The paperwork (copy below) does not say what the terms of the settlement are. Both Range and the DEP are being mum about the terms…

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