XTO Exploded Belmont Well Still Not Capped, Neighbors Stay Away

Last Thursday XTO Energy was drilling a Utica Shale well on the Schnegg well pad near Captina Creek (York Township, Belmont County, OH) when they “lost control” of the well and it exploded and caught fire (see XTO Energy Utica Well Explosion in Belmont County – 100 Evacuated). As we reported yesterday, most evacuees were allowed to return home, with just a few still not able to access their homes (see Most Evacuees Return Home After XTO Well Explosion in Ohio). However, we’ve since that time, we’ve learned that although evacuees were allowed to return home (and some did, to check on things/grab items), none of them stayed overnight in their own homes. Why? The well is still not capped. And as long as it’s not capped and continues to “spew” methane into the air, residents don’t feel safe. Can’t say that we blame them. We wouldn’t want to be in the vicinity either. The latest news is this: Power was restored to the area yesterday, but since the power has been out since last Thursday, you can imagine the condition of refrigerators and freezers in those homes where power was off. XTO has pledged to replace all fridges and freezers, and compensate residents for the cost of food lost, from having the power turned off. There’s still no estimate on when the well will be capped (a damaged crane has to be removed first)…

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