COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120
DEP Orders Partial Shutdown of Two Natural Gas Drilling
Operations in Lycoming County
May 30 2013 HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania – The Department of
Environmental Protection today ordered two natural gas drilling
companies to suspend a portion of their operations at separate sites
in Lycoming County for violating Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law.
Range Resources - Appalachia LLC and Chief Oil and Gas LLC operate
impoundment areas in Cogan House Township and Mifflin Township,
respectively, that collect water for use in the companies’
exploratory drilling operations in the Marcellus Shale.
The impoundments draw tens of thousands of gallons of water per day
from nearby waterways. Such large volume diversions could impair the
existing uses of the waterways.
The Clean Streams Law empowers DEP to protect the quality of
Pennsylvania’s waterways and the volume of water therein.
“Drilling for natural gas is a water intensive endeavor,” said DEP
Northcentral Regional Office Director Robert Yowell.
more so in the case of the Marcellus Shale, where this type of
drilling can often times consume millions of gallons of water.
the course of their operations, neither Range Resources nor Chief
Oil and Gas have taken the necessary precautions to protect nearby
streams from pollution or impairment during the drilling process.
“We need to ensure that bodies of water involved near Hoagland Run
and First Fork Larry’s Creek—both high quality tributaries—and Mud
Run and Big Sandy Run are protected for the residents of Lycoming
County and the entire Susquehanna watershed.”
DEP’s action coincides with an enforcement action taken by the
Susquehanna River Basin Commission under its own regulatory
Range Resources and Chief Oil and Gas failed to obtain the required
approval from the SRBC for the ongoing water withdrawal.
required for this type of activity because of the potential to
impair or destroy the basin’s water resources and cause pollution.
“These orders will remain in effect until the department has
received and approved a water management plan from both companies,
and each firm has obtained the necessary permits,” said Yowell.
The water management plan will help ensure that drilling operations
do not have an adverse effect on the nearby streams or water
Current regulations for natural gas exploring and drilling in
Pennsylvania call for operators to obtain proper permits to
construct and develop oil and gas wells and prevent the pollution or
destruction of the state’s water resources.
As the natural gas industry responds to increased energy market
demands, Pennsylvania has become a hot-bed for gas exploration and
development, particularly in the Marcellus Shale geologic formation.
The department has received and reviewed a record-setting number of
applications for gas wells permits over the past four years.
“All companies, in-state or out-of-state, planning natural gas
drilling activities on Pennsylvania’s soil must abide by the
commonwealth’s environmental rules and regulations that protect and
safeguard the state’s natural resources,” said Yowell.
increased interest and activity in oil and gas drilling throughout
the state, Pennsylvania will experience a boost to its local
economies, but we want to make sure that our environment and natural
resources are not sacrificed in the process.”
DEP and other state agencies and commissions will begin conducting
site inspections at all permitted natural gas exploration and
During inspections, DEP field personnel will be
on-hand to review procedures and regulations with operators and
In June, DEP and its partners including the Department of
Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat
Commission, SRBC, the Delaware River Basin Commission and the County
Conservation Districts will host current and prospective natural gas
exploration operators and owners to discuss Pennsylvania’s oil and
gas industry, the industry’s future, and the state’s environmental
rules and regulations.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA