Hearing on Range Yeager Impoundment/Water Contamination Continues

More from the ongoing hearing into the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection’s actions, or lack of actions, in determining a private water well 2,800 feel (half a mile) downhill from a Range Resources wastewater impoundment that was found to be leaky was fouled by that impoundment. We previously explained that in order for a lawsuit by the landowner Loren Kiskadden against Range for “contaminating” his water well to be valid, the DEP must reverse a previous finding that Range’s Yeager impoundment did not foul his well (see Did DEP Mishandle Range Wastewater Impoundment Investigation?). So one of the DEP’s investigators has been on the hot seat explaining his previous findings and reports…
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Range Resources to Begin Closing Yeager Impoundment on Monday

As we promised two weeks ago, we have more news and developments on Range Resources’ Yeager Wastewater Impoundment in Amwell Township (Washington County), PA. Range will begin the process of decommissioning the impoundment (i.e. pond) starting Monday, August 18th. As they do so, a lawyer for the three families suing Range with charges of well water contamination will be at the site to take their own so-called “independent” soil samples, right alongside Range. What Range (and the lawyer) will be looking for is any evidence that the two rubber liners have, in the past, leaked wastewater and therefore salts or chlorides, into the ground. Below we have a brief backgrounder, a copy of the Range 98-page plan to close the Yeager impoundment, and the recommended tweaks to that plan by the state DEP…
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Range, Others Paid SWPA Landowners $3M to Settle “Haney” Case

Three families who lived near a former drill site and frack wastewater impoundment in Washington County, PA sued Range Resources in May 2012 claiming the air they breathe and the water they drink had been contaminated by Range’s operations at the site (see EPA Investigating Range Drill Site in Western PA). Range eventually settled what became known as the “Haney” case with the three families in 2018. The settlement was, until yesterday, secret. Facing ongoing pressure from “media” outlets, Range released a copy of the settlement showing the families got a collective $3 million–minus 33% for overpaid lawyers.
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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Continues Vendetta Against Range Resources

Pennsylvania Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, and the anti-drilling Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, continue their tag-team effort to criminalize and humiliate Range Resources. Shapiro, a sleazy politician, is investigating so-called environmental “crimes” committed by shale companies in a bid to boost his chances of being the next nominee to run for governor (see PA AG Investigates Shale Drillers for “Enviro Crimes”). One of Shapiro’s sham investigations is into Range Resources and the long-ago settled “Haney” court case. The Post-Gazette is trying to get sealed court documents unsealed in the Haney case.
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SWPA County Judge Rules Range Can’t See Reporters’ Notes/Sources

one hand tied behind the back

So-called reporters, like some at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, must have known they were breaking the law by using confidential information (sealed under a court order) in some of their anti-shale articles. Range Resources, fighting against an out-of-control Attorney General (Josh Shapiro) who wants to charge the company with crimes, wants to depose those reporters to try and find out who, exactly, broke the law in leaking information that is sealed by court order. However, a county judge won’t let Range do it. Not yet, anyway.
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Antis Try to Pick Open Old Scab of Settled (and Sealed) Range Case

Three families who live near a former drill site and frack wastewater impoundment at the Yeager Marcellus Shale site in Washington County, PA sued Range Resources in May 2012 claiming the air they breathe and the water they drink had been contaminated by Range’s operations at the site (see EPA Investigating Range Drill Site in Western PA). The case was eventually settled and sealed in September 2018.
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PA Supreme Court Rejects Range Resources Well Contamination Case

For years we’ve followed the story of Range Resources and their (former) wastewater impoundments in Washington County, PA. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) fined Range a whopping $4.15 million for violations in September 2014 (see PA DEP Fines Range Resources $4.15M for Wastewater Impoundments). Some of the nearby neighbors claimed that Range’s leaky impoundments (a quarter of a mile away) contaminated their water wells. One of those landowners was Loren Kiskadden, who sued Range in civil court. The problem is, the DEP determined that the nearby Yeager impoundment had not contaminated Kiskadden’s well, which led to allegations that the DEP had bungled the investigation (see Did DEP Mishandle Range Wastewater Impoundment Investigation?). Kiskadden had to press on, because if the DEP doesn’t reverse its finding, he has no civil case against Range. Press on he did (see Hearing on Range Yeager Impoundment/Water Contamination Continues). The matter was heard by the DEP’s Environmental Hearing Board (EHB). The EHB found that Kiskadden didn’t have a case–his well was not contaminated by Range’s impoundment. So Kiskadden and his lawyers asked for a re-hearing. The result of that re-hearing came in December 2015 and, we thought, finally closed the door, once and for all (see DEP Final Determination: Range Didn’t Pollute Kiskadden Water Well). But no, that was not the end. Kiskadden appealed again, and in October 2016 a Commonwealth Court appeals panel affirmed the EHB’s 2015 dismissal of Kiskadden’s appeal of the DEP 2011 ruling that Range’s Yeager site operations did not contaminate Kiskadden’s well water. Case closed, right? Nope. Kiskadden had one card left to play and he did it–filing an appeal with the PA Supreme Court (see Landowner Appeals Range Well Contamination Case to PA Supreme Crt). Earlier this week, the Supreme Court sent back the appeal marked “case denied.” The fat lady has now sung…
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Landowner Appeals Range Well Contamination Case to PA Supreme Crt

lawsuitFor some time we’ve followed the story of Range Resources and their (former) wastewater impoundments in Washington County, PA. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) fined Range a whopping $4.15 million for violations in September 2014 (see PA DEP Fines Range Resources $4.15M for Wastewater Impoundments). Some of the nearby neighbors claimed that Range’s leaky impoundments (a quarter of a mile away) contaminated their water wells. One of those landowners was Loren Kiskadden, who sued Range in civil court. The problem is, the DEP determined that the nearby Yeager impoundment had not contaminated Kiskadden’s well, which led to allegations that the DEP had bungled the investigation (see Did DEP Mishandle Range Wastewater Impoundment Investigation?). Kiskadden had to press on, because if the DEP doesn’t reverse its finding, he has no civil case against Range. Press on he did (see Hearing on Range Yeager Impoundment/Water Contamination Continues). The matter was heard by the DEP’s Environmental Hearing Board (EHB). The EHB found that Kiskadden didn’t have a case–his well was not contaminated by Range’s impoundment. So Kiskadden and his lawyers asked for a re-hearing. The result of that re-hearing came in December 2015 and we thought it finally closed the door, once and for all, on the case (see DEP Final Determination: Range Didn’t Pollute Kiskadden Water Well). But no, that was not the end. Kiskadden appealed again, and in October 2016 a Commonwealth Court appeals panel affirmed the EHB’s 2015 dismissal of Kiskadden’s appeal of the DEP 2011 ruling that Range’s Yeager site operations did not contaminate Kiskadden’s well water. Case closed, right? Nope. Kiskadden has one card left to play, and he’s done it. Kiskadden’s attorneys have appealed the case to the PA Supreme Court…
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PA Court Says Range Impoundment Did NOT Contaminate Water Well

Gavel-falling.jpgYou may recall that for some time we’ve been following the back and forth between Range Resources and their (former) wastewater impoundments in Washington County, PA. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) fined Range a whopping $4.15 million for violations in September 2014 (see PA DEP Fines Range Resources $4.15M for Wastewater Impoundments). Some of the nearby neighbors claimed that Range’s leaky impoundments (a quarter of a mile away) contaminated their water wells. One of those landowners was Loren Kiskadden, who is suing Range in civil court. The problem is, the DEP found that the nearby Yeager impoundment had not contaminated Kiskadden’s well, which led to allegations that the DEP had bungled the investigation (see Did DEP Mishandle Range Wastewater Impoundment Investigation?). Kiskadden had to press on, because if the DEP doesn’t reverse its finding, he has no civil case against Range. Press on he did (see Hearing on Range Yeager Impoundment/Water Contamination Continues). The matter was heard by the DEP’s Environmental Hearing Board (EHB). The EHB found that Kiskadden didn’t have a case–his well was not contaminated by Range’s impoundment. So Kiskadden and his lawyers asked for a re-hearing. The result of that re-hearing came back in December and (we thought) closed the door, once and for all, on the case (see DEP Final Determination: Range Didn’t Pollute Kiskadden Water Well). But no, that was not the end. Kiskadden appealed again. Last week a Commonwealth Court appeals panel affirmed the EHB’s 2015 dismissal of Kiskadden’s appeal of the DEP 2011 ruling that Range’s Yeager site operations did not contaminate Kiskadden’s well water. Have we finally reached the end of this drawn-out saga?…
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Judge Drops Testing Lab from Ongoing Range Res. Lawsuit in W PA

Gavel-falling.jpgIn June MDN brought you a report about a family (John and Ashley Voyle) living near a former Range Resources wastewater impoundment in Washington County, PA who had sued not only Range, but a water testing company (TestAmerica Laboratories) in a lawsuit alleging their water well had been contaminated by Range’s impoundment. The water testing company was made part of the lawsuit because, said the Voyles, the company allowed their test results to be doctored by Range before the results were reported to the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection. That aspect of this long, drawn-out lawsuit has been decided. The judge in the case said TestAmerica is not at fault and has been removed from the lawsuit…
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Homeowner Claims Range Doctored Well Test Results, Suing for Fraud

lawsuitIn 2014, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) fined Range Resources a whopping $4.15 million for violations related to several of Range’s wastewater impoundments in Washington County, PA (see PA DEP Fines Range Resources $4.15M for Wastewater Impoundments). Some of the nearby neighbors claimed that Range’s impoundments had leaked, contaminating their water wells. One of those landowners was Loren Kiskadden, who sued Range in civil court. The problem is, the DEP found that the nearby Yeager impoundment had not contaminated Kiskadden’s well, which led to allegations that the DEP had bungled the investigation (see Did DEP Mishandle Range Wastewater Impoundment Investigation?). Kiskadden had to press on, because if the DEP didn’t reverse its finding, he would have no civil case against Range. Press on he did (see Hearing on Range Yeager Impoundment/Water Contamination Continues). The matter was heard by the DEP’s Environmental Hearing Board (EHB). The EHB found that Kiskadden didn’t have a case–his well was not contaminated by Range’s impoundment. So Kiskadden and his lawyers asked for a re-hearing. Kiskadden’s re-hearing request got turned down (see DEP Final Determination: Range Didn’t Pollute Kiskadden Water Well). End of story. Except, we now have a new wrinkle. Another homeowner–we’re not sure if this is for the Yeager or a different impoundment–is suing both Range and a lab Range used to test their water well claiming fraud–that Range changed the test results that the DEP based its “faulty” investigation on…
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DEP Final Determination: Range Didn’t Pollute Kiskadden Water Well

Another “Range Resources impoundment leak polluted my water well” case was quietly resolved just a few days ago. You may recall that for some time we’ve been following the back and forth between Range Resources and their (former) wastewater impoundments in Washington County, PA. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) fined Range a whopping $4.15 million for violations in September 2014 (see PA DEP Fines Range Resources $4.15M for Wastewater Impoundments). Some of the nearby neighbors claimed that Range’s leaky impoundments (a quarter of a mile away) contaminated their water wells. One of those landowners was Loren Kiskadden, who is suing Range in civil court. The problem is, the DEP found that the nearby Yeager impoundment had not contaminated Kiskadden’s well, which led to allegations that the DEP had bungled the investigation (see Did DEP Mishandle Range Wastewater Impoundment Investigation?). Kiskadden had to press on, because if the DEP doesn’t reverse its finding, he has no civil case against Range. Press on he did (see Hearing on Range Yeager Impoundment/Water Contamination Continues). The matter was heard by the DEP’s Environmental Hearing Board (EHB). The EHB found that Kiskadden didn’t have a case–his well was not contaminated by Range’s impoundment. So Kiskadden and his lawyers asked for a re-hearing. The result of that re-hearing just came back and closes the door, once and for all, on the case…
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SWPA Landowners Allege Range Withheld Info in Water Well Case

withhold informationMDN has been highlighting stories and writing about potential water well contamination by Range Resources at their Yeager well and wastewater impoundment site in Amwell Township (Washington County), PA since 2012 (see MDN’s list of Range/Yeager stories here). Residents living nearby have claimed their wells were contaminated, and their health affected. Range finally closed the wastewater impoundment at the site last year (see Range Resources to Begin Closing Yeager Impoundment on Monday). A judge ordered Range to produce a list of all chemicals used at the site since it was first drilled. One of the things Range didn’t disclose, according to the residents living nearby, was that the company used “tracer” chemicals when they originally drilled the well in 2009. Tracers are used to track the presence of fracking fluids. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) eventually ruled the water wells near the Yeager site were not contaminated by Range’s activities. The landowners are now appealing that decision based on this “new” evidence that Range used tracers, but never disclosed the use of tracers that investigators could have used in looking for evidence of contamination. The neighbors are alleging that Range engaged in a cover-up to keep what might have been damning evidence from the plaintiffs…
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Range Loses 2nd Appeal, Must Provide PA Well Site Chemical List

Three families who live near a former drill site and frack wastewater impoundment at the Yeager Marcellus Shale site in Washington County, PA sued Range Resources in May 2012 claiming the air they breathe and the water they drink had been contaminated by Range’s operation at the site (see EPA Investigating Range Drill Site in Western PA). Litigation ensued, and years passed. In 2013, a Washington County court ordered Range (not its contractors, but Range itself) to disclose a list of all chemicals used at the site–right down to the type of motor oil used in vehicles coming and going at the site (see PA Judge Forces Range, Contractors to Provide Chemical List). It will be an almost impossible task to construct such a list at this point, especially in light of the fact they’re in the process of closing the site. So Range appealed. Last June they lost that appeal (see Court Says Range Resources Must Disclose Chemicals in SW PA). Range appealed again, and last week they lost that second appeal…
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Range Re-Opens 2 of 3 Water Impoundments in Washington County, PA

Last September Range Resources was fined $4.15 million for a series of violations at eight water impoundments they operate in southwestern PA (see PA DEP Fines Range Resources $4.15M for Wastewater Impoundments). As part of the deal worked out with the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) under then-Sec. Chris Abruzzo, Range agreed to shut down five of the eight impoundments. Actually, all eight of the impoundments ceased operation either during or prior to last September. Two of the remaining three impoundments–the “Carter” and “Carol Baker” impoundments–are now back up and running. The Carter impoundment is handling only fresh water these days, while the Carol Baker impoundment has been upgraded and once again handles wastewater. The remaining “Jon Day” impoundment is being upgraded to begin handling wastewater again, when the weather breaks…
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Did DEP Mishandle Range Wastewater Impoundment Investigation?

Range Resources has had a long-running dispute with some of the neighbors near some of it’s wastewater impoundments in Washington, PA. Without recounting the details (see MDN’s previous stories here), the entire thing came to a head recently when the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) completed their investigation and fined Range the highest amount any driller has paid so far in the modern shale drilling era (see PA DEP Fines Range Resources $4.15M for Wastewater Impoundments). Part of the deal is that Range is closing those impoundments. There are, of course, legal actions involved, as you might expect. One of the neighbors near the Yeager impoundment sued Range with claims of well water contamination from chemicals leaking from the impoundment. The DEP determined the landowner’s well was not contaminated by the Range impoundment and the landowner challenged that finding in DEP’s version of court, the Environmental Hearing Board. Testimony at the hearing last week from a DEP official about the investigation indicates the DEP “might have used incomplete and inaccurate test information to decide whether chemicals leaking…contaminated a water well and springs”…
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