Civil Debate in Plum, PA re Proposed Wastewater Injection Well

As MDN reported in July, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the agency in charge of approving oil and gas wastewater injection wells, is currently reviewing an application and plan from Penneco Environmental Solutions (division of Penneco Oil Co.) to convert a plugged gas well into a brine (wastewater) injection well in Plum, PA–near Pittsburgh (see New Frack Wastewater Well on the Way in Allegheny County, PA). PA has just a handful of wastewater injection wells–less than 10. The most recent two such projects were vigorously opposed by the municipalities where they are located–Highland Township in Elk County, and Grant Township in Indiana County. The towns eventually backed down when they were sued by the PA DEP over their illegal actions (see PA DEP Issues 2 Wastewater Injection Well Permits, Sues 2 Towns). Although we expected a huge push-back in Plum, if a meeting held yesterday to debate the project is an indicator, perhaps the push-back won’t be as much as we thought. Yesterday a panel of experts–both pro and con–interacted with a crowd of around 100 people in Plum Council’s chambers. One of the people on the pro side was MDN friend Dave Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition. One of the people on the con side was Doug Shields, former Pittsburgh councilman and now paid agitator/protester for the radical Food & Water Watch. You might think there would be fireworks at such a meeting–but there wasn’t. The biggest surprise of the meeting is that there were no surprises–it was civil. No shouting. No theatrics. No loud-mouthed protesters. Such a project comes with serious questions and concerns–like earthquakes and water contamination. Those issues and more were addressed at the meeting…

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