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Marcellus Shale drilling violations

Published August 18. 2010 05:00PM

A report published by the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association has identified a total of 1,435 violations of state oil and gas laws by Marcellus Shale drillers operating in the state. Records of the violations were obtained from the Department of Environmental Protection through a Right To Know Request.

The violations occurred over a two-and-a-half year period, from January 2008 through June 25. Of these, 483 were administrative and safety violations, which most likely did not have a negative environmental impact. In the words of the report, that leaves "952 violations as having or likely to have an impact on the environment."

The report identifies violators according to two categories, those companies with the most violations in general and those with the most violations per well driller. Only violations seen as having an environmental impact were counted for the lists.

The top three companies with the most violations in general were East Resources Inc. which operates 140 wells and had a total of 138 violations, Chesapeake Appalachia LLC, operating 153 wells with 118 violations, and Chief Oil & Gas LLC with 45 wells and 109 violations.

The top three companies with most violations per well were JW Operating CO with an average of 11 violations per well, Citrus Energy Corp with seven, and Penn Virginia Oil & Gas Corp with four.

The violations were grouped into categories: Improper Erosion & Sediment Plans Developed/Implemented (277), Improper Construction of Waste Water Impoundments (268), Discharge of Industrial Waste (154), Violations of PA Clean Stream Law (100), Faulty Pollution Prevention Practices (65), Permitting Violations (38), Improper Restoration of Extraction Site (17), Blowout Prevention (16) Improper Well-Casing Construction (10), and Improper Waste Management (7).

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