PA DEP Fines Landfill (with Drill Cuttings) 2nd Time – $59K

The Westmoreland Sanitary Landfill in Westmoreland County, PA (southwestern corner of the state, near Pittsburgh) was fined $24,000 earlier this year (see PA DEP Fines Drill Cuttings Landfill for Contaminated Runoff). The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) claimed effluent from the landfill, because the landfill accepts shale drill cuttings, had damaged a water treatment system in a nearby municipality. The DEP is back to shake down the landfill again, this time assessing a $59,000 fine.
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Weekly Shale Drilling Permits for PA, OH, WV: Oct. 5-9

Only Pennsylvania issued permits to drill new shale wells last week in the Appalachian region. Neither Ohio nor West Virginia issued any new drilling permits from Oct. 5-9. In PA, some 20 permits were issued in both the northeast and southwest parts of the state.
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Weekly Shale Drilling Permits for PA, OH, WV: Sep 28 – Oct 2

Somebody lit a fire under drillers in Pennsylvania last week! Or maybe we should say a fire was lit under the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). PA issued 35 new permits last week spread pretty much across the entire state–in the northeast, central, and southwest portions of the state. Ohio, once again, issued no new Utica permits last week. West Virginia issued a single new permit last week.
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PA DEP Shakes Down Equitrans $428K for Pipe Building Violations

Equitrans Midstream, which used to be part of EQT as EQT Midstream, is still EQT’s main squeeze when it comes to gathering pipelines connected to its wells. The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced yesterday it has fined Equitrans $427,650 for “slips, stabilization, and erosion and sedimentation violations at pipeline sites in Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties.”
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Weekly Shale Drilling Permits for PA, OH, WV: Sep 14-18

Last week Ohio finally broke the drought of not issuing permits for new shale wells in the Buckeye State. Finally! Last week Pennsylvania issued 13 new permits for wells on three well pads. Ohio issued 4 new permits for wells on two well pads. And West Virginia issued 1 new permit.
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Weekly Shale Drilling Permits for PA, OH, WV: Sep 7-11

For the third week in a row, both Pennsylvania and West Virginia issued permits to drill new shale wells last week, and Ohio did not. What’s up with Ohio? PA issued 13 new permits for wells on five well pads. WV issued 2 new permits on two different pads. PA’s new permits skewed toward the southwestern part of the state with 11 of the 13 permits issued (two in Bradford County in the northeast). The WV permits were both issued in Marshall County, located in the northern panhandle of the state.
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PA Fines Sunoco $355,636 for Old Mariner East 2 Pipe Violations

Credit: Scott Blanchard / StateImpact Pennsylvania (click for larger version)

In early 2018 Sunoco Logistics Partners (aka Energy Transfer) agreed to pay a massive (historically high) $12.6 million fine to the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) for “permit violations related to the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline project” (see Sunoco LP Pays PA DEP $12.6M to Resume ME2 Pipeline Construction). It wasn’t the only fine the ME projects have incurred. Last Thursday Sunoco agreed to pay *another* $355,636 for a series of “inadvertent returns” (i.e. drilling mud spills) that happened more than a year ago, between August 2018 and April 2019.
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CNX Agrees to $175K Fine for Faulty Utica Well in SWPA

CNX was fracking their Shaw 1G Utica well in Washington Township (Westmoreland County) in early 2019 when they detected “a strong drop in pressure” and stopped fracking (see CNX Hits Major Problem Fracking Utica Well Near SWPA Reservoir). Turns out the well was “communicating” (i.e. losing gas to) several nearby conventional wells. The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) finally assessed a fine for that episode late last week: $175,000.
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ME2 Pipe Inspector Admits Falsifying Welding Records 77 Times

In March a worker hired to x-ray welds on sections of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in southwestern Pennsylvania was charged with falsifying records–that he falsely claimed to have performed work when he didn’t (see ME2 Pipeline Worker Charged with Falsifying Welding Records). Yesterday the worker, via a video hearing, plead guilty to 77 counts of falsifying documents.
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Biased Post-Gazette Attacks SWPA Shale Cuttings Landfill…Again

Last year a sewage treatment facility in Belle Vernon (Fayette County, PA) claimed the effluent (runoff) it was receiving from a nearby landfill in Westmoreland County contained high levels of salt and radioactivity and was causing damage to their treatment system (see Another Post-Gazette Smear Job: Drill Cuttings Pollute Rivers). The landfill accepts drill cuttings–leftover rock and dirt from drilling holes (not wastewater). The sewage treatment plant with help from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette made accusations against the landfill and the shale industry. The same biased Post-Gazette “reporter” is back with another round of accusations against the landfill, aimed at scaring nearby residents.
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SWPA Judge Rejects Anti Lawsuit re Murrysville Fracking Ordinance

Last time we wrote about a zoning ordinance in Murrysville Township (Westmoreland County) was three years ago, in May 2017, when the town and local drillers struck a compromise on the distance of setbacks (see Murrysville, PA Drilling Ordinance – Anatomy of a Compromise). Apparently the still-too-restrictive ordinance (in our opinion) that allows drilling wells on only 5% of the land in the town wasn’t good enough for local antis who want to block all shale drilling.
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Penn Twp Frack Ban Case Strikes Out at PA Supreme Court

A leftist anti-fossil group calling itself Protect PT, in Penn Township (Westmoreland County), PA, backed with big money from Big Green groups, has for years challenged Penn Township ordinances that allow Apex Energy and Huntley & Huntley (now Olympus Energy) to drill and operate shale wells. Protect PT has finally struck out, permanently, at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
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ME2 Pipeline Worker Charged with Falsifying Welding Records

A worker hired to x-ray welds on sections of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in southwestern Pennsylvania has been charged falsifying records, indicating that he performed the work when he didn’t. That’s a felony. According to one news account the worker, from Westmoreland County, PA, is expected to plead guilty and faces up to five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. The good news is that Energy Transfer, the builder, discovered the deception and immediately reported it. ET reinspected all of the welds supposedly inspected by this worker.
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PA DEP Fines Drill Cuttings Landfill for Contaminated Runoff

Last year a sewage treatment facility in Belle Vernon (Fayette County, PA) claimed the effluent (runoff) it was receiving from a nearby landfill in Westmoreland County contained high levels of salt and radioactivity and was causing damage to their treatment system (see Another Post-Gazette Smear Job: Drill Cuttings Pollute Rivers). The landfill accepts drill cuttings–leftover rock and dirt from drilling holes (not wastewater)–yet the sewage treatment plant with help from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette made accusations against the landfill and the shale industry. The state Dept. of Environmental Protection has stepped in and brokered an agreement with the landfill (called a consent order) for the landfill to make certain corrective actions and (of course) pay a $24,000 fine.
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Olympus Energy (former H&H) Plans 2 New Wells in Upper Burrell

Upper Burrell Twp

Olympus Energy, the renamed Huntley & Huntley Energy Exploration (HHEX), continues to make Upper Burrell in Westmoreland County, PA a key area of focus. Last April we told you about the company planning its twelfth well pad in Upper Burrell (see Huntley & Huntley Proposes Another Well Pad in Upper Burrell). We’ve since lost track of the number of pads Olympus/HHEX has built in the township, but we have two more to tell you about.

NOTE: Olympus emailed to say they currently have one well pad (not 12), the Zeus pad. That one well pad has three wells in production with three additional wells permitted. However, Olympus did recently apply to build two new pads (each with a single well). We thank Olympus for the correction!
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