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Halliburton Loophole

"Father of Fracking"
George Mitchell
concerns over environmental
impacts of fracking

History of Fracking
Only a new technology

USA Fracking Stories

A Texan tragedy

Gas injection may have triggered earthquakes in Texas

California Lags in Fracking Regulations

All In for California Water

Fracking in Michigan

Fracking in Michigan Potential Impact on Health, Environment, Economy

Hydraulic fracturing of Marcellus Shale

Methane Gas from Marcellus Shale Drilling

Marcellus Shale Gas Economics

Health impacts of Marcellus shale gas drilling

Pennsylvania Fracking

Fracking in Virginia

Lesson From Wyoming Fracking

Water Pollution from Fracking

Hydraulic Fracturing Poses Substantial Water Pollution Risks

Methane in drinking water wells

Abandoned gas wells leak

Natural Gas Leaks Discovered in Boston

Methane Leaks Under Streets of Boston

Methane leaks make fracking dirty

Fracking effects real estate values

Fracking stimulates earthquakes

Protecting Gas Pipelines From Earthquakes

Gas Pipeline Earthquake - Simulations

America's crumbling pipelines

Averting Pipeline Failures

Dangers to Underground Pipelines

Gas Pipelines Could Serve as Wireless Links

Government Action needed on a National Energy Policy

EPA Releases Update on Ongoing Hydraulic Fracturing Study

Solar Booster Shot for Natural Gas Power Plants

Natural Gas Pricing Reform to Facilitate Carbon Tax Policy

Investing in fracking

What Oil Prices Have in Store?

Methane Out, Carbon Dioxide In

Health impacts of Marcellus shale gas drilling

Professor Ingraffea

Anti-Fracking Billboard

Natural Gas Drilling

Threats to Biodiversity

Pronghorn Migration
hindered by gas development

Microbes in a Fracking Site

Protozoa May Hold Key to World Water Safety

Shale Gas Production

Research into the Fracking Controversy

Convert Methane Into Useful Chemicals

Methane Natural Gas Into Diesel

'Natural Gas' at the molecular level

Arctic Methane risks

Arctic Methane Seeps

Great Gas Hydrate Escape

Undersea Methane Seep Ecosystem

Methane in the Atmosphere of Early Earth

Methane Natural Gas Linked to Climate Change

Cutting Methane Pollutants Would Slow Sea Level Rise

California | Colorado | Dakota | Marcellus | Massachusetts | Michigan |
Ohio | Pennsylvania | Texas | Utah | Virginia | Wyoming

Shale Gas


COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120

DEP Gives Cabot Oil & Gas 60 Days to Implement Permanent Fix to Impacted Water Supplies in Susquehanna County Township

Company Required to Continue Providing Water Supplies
 in Interim May Resume Drilling Outside Affected Area


07/21/2010 MEADVILLE -- The Department of Environmental Protection this week gave Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. 60 days to permanently fix the water supplies that were affected by the company’s natural gas drilling operations in Dimock, Susquehanna County.

The directive is part of a modified consent order and agreement between the agency and the company that requires Cabot to continue providing temporary water services until the permanent solution can be implemented.

The 60-day timetable represents an extension that was made necessary when residents in the affected area objected to the company’s previous proposal to fix the water contamination issue.

“This week’s modification to the consent order and agreement gives us more time to find a water supply solution that will address the needs and concerns of residents,” said DEP Secretary John Hanger.

“Our goal is to find a permanent solution that will be agreeable to all parties.”

In April 2010, DEP and Cabot entered into a modification of the original consent order and agreement that was executed in November 2009.

One of the provisions required whole-house water treatment systems to be installed in 14 homes as a permanent water supply resolution.

After the document was signed, several of those residents expressed dissatisfaction with whole-house treatment systems.

DEP met with a number of them in May to discuss their concerns.

Due to the resident reaction, Cabot requested an extension of the consent order and agreement time frame to install a permanent solution. DEP agreed to delay enforcement of that provision to allow for additional discussions with residents.

Meanwhile, several residents in the affected area appealed the April modification to the consent order and agreement to the Environmental Hearing Board.

Also in April, DEP suspended its review of Cabot’s pending permit applications for new drilling activities statewide until the company fulfilled its obligations to plug and repair the wells that caused the gas migration, which caused the water contamination.

This week’s modification acknowledges Cabot’s progress to date under the earlier agreement.

In particular, Cabot has plugged three gas wells, as required, and has made repairs to another well. As a result, DEP will resume reviewing Cabot applications only for permits to drill gas wells outside of the affected area in Dimock Township.

Except for the permanent water supply and permit application review provisions, all other terms and conditions of the November 2009 consent order and agreement and April 2010 modification remain in effect, including the restrictions on drilling and hydrofracturing within the affected area.

Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. is headquartered in Houston, Tex. with a mailing address in Pittsburgh.

Media Release: COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

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DEP Orders Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. to Remove Hibbard Well Pad Reserve Pit in Susquehanna County

Company Ignored DEP’s Prior Written, Verbal Requests

04/30/2010 WILLIAMSPORT -- The Department of Environmental Protection today ordered Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. to close and remove an earthen pit in Susquehanna County that holds drilling fluids to determine whether it is contaminating nearby water resources.

The pit, known as a reserve pit, is located at the Hibbard well pad in Dimock Township. The company has 14 days to comply with the order.

DEP’s North-central Regional Director Robert Yowell said today’s more aggressive enforcement action was necessitated after the company ignored previous requests.

“DEP strongly advised Cabot to close and remove the reserve pit in an April 8 notice of violation letter and reiterated to Cabot’s senior management the same message a few short days ago,” said Yowell.

“However, Cabot has not remedied the situation and its inaction demonstrates an arrogant disregard for Pennsylvania’s oil and gas regulations and proper protection of our environment.”

The department’s Oil and Gas Program staff responded to a report of black water in a ditch near the Hibbard well pad on March 22.

The black water had impacted a private unused drinking water well, two springs and a wetland.

The water, soil and sediment sample results from DEP and Cabot’s contractor in the area, along with visible tears and holes in the reserve pit’s liner and local geology, led DEP to conclude that the black water is a mixture of groundwater and liquid waste from the reserve pit.

The DEP order also requires Cabot to submit a site characterization report plan to DEP within seven days; a letter describing the completion of the pit’s final closure and removal within 18 days; and a site characterization report with the results of its investigation and analysis within 45 days.

Media Release: COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
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DEP Takes Aggressive Action Against Cabot Oil & Gas Corp to Enforce Environmental Laws Protect Public in Susquehanna County

Suspends Review of Cabot’s New Drilling Permit Applications Orders Company to Plug Wells Install Residential Water Systems Pay $240,000 in Fines


04/15/2010 HARRISBURG -- The Department of Environmental Protection today issued a sweeping order requiring Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. to take extensive actions and help the residents of Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, who have been affected by the company’s drilling activities.

Under the consent order and agreement, Cabot must plug three wells within 40 days that are believed to be the source of migrating gas that has contaminated groundwater and the drinking water supplies of 14 homes in the region. It must also install permanent treatment systems in those homes within 30 days.

Additionally, DEP Secretary John Hanger said his agency is immediately suspending its review of Cabot’s pending permit applications for new drilling activities statewide until it fulfills its obligations under the order issued today. Cabot also is barred from drilling any new wells for at least one year in the Dimock Township area.

Today’s action follows Cabot’s failure to abide by the terms of a November 2009 consent order and agreement with DEP.

“Cabot had every opportunity to correct these violations, but failed to do so. Instead, it chose to ignore its responsibility to safeguard the citizens of this community and to protect the natural resources there,” said Hanger.

“I have ordered that all of Cabot’s permit applications for further drilling in any region of the state be put on-hold, indefinitely, until the region’s homeowners receive their new water treatment systems, the fines are paid, and the wells are plugged.

“Gas migration is a serious issue that can have dire consequences to affected communities and we will not allow Pennsylvania’s citizens to be put in harms way by companies that chose not to follow the law.”

During recent inspections, DEP identified five additional defective Cabot gas wells and another home water supply that has been affected by gas migration, bringing to 14 the number of impacted water supplies in the Dimock area.

Hanger said DEP also will continue to investigate another 10 Cabot gas wells in the Dimock area over the next 85 days that could be sources of migrating gas and determine whether Cabot should be ordered to plug some or all of those wells.

The original November 2009 consent order and agreement directed Cabot to meet a March 31 deadline to fix defective cement and well casings on certain wells and to prevent the unpermitted natural gas discharge into groundwater that violated the state’s Clean Streams Law and the Oil and Gas Act.

The company did not meet this deadline, while the migrating gas continues to impact water supplies at homes in a nine-square-mile area near Carter Road.

As part of today’s order, Cabot has also paid a $240,000 fine to the commonwealth, which has been deposited into the state’s well-plugging account.

It also must pay $30,000 per month beginning in May until DEP has determined that the company has met its obligations under the 2009 order.

“Companies drilling in the Marcellus Shale have the legal responsibility to design and construct their wells to keep all gas contained within the wells and to prevent gas from moving into fresh groundwater.

These standards are not mere suggestions or recommendations,” Hanger said.

“Oil and gas companies doing business in Pennsylvania will follow the environmental rules and regulations put in place to protect citizens and our natural resources or face aggressive action by this department.”

Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. is headquartered in Houston, Texas with a mailing address in Pittsburgh.

Media Release: COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

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DEP Fines Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. $56,650 for Susquehanna County Spills

Company Had Three Spills Totaling 8,000 Gallons in Less Than One Week


10/22/2009 Williamsport – The Department of Environmental Protection has fined Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. $56,650 for three spills of a water/liquid gel mixture at its Heitsman natural gas well in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, last month.

“This penalty was assessed for Cabot’s violations of the Clean Streams Law, Solid Waste Management Act and Oil and Gas Act,” said DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell.

“We expect that Cabot will do a better job in the future of overseeing its contractors now that the company has an improved preparedness, prevention and contingency plan in place.”

Cabot had two spills at its Heitsman well on Sept. 16 and a third spill on Sept. 22. The spills totaled about 8,000 gallons and caused pollution in Stevens Creek and a nearby wetland.

All three spills involved a water/liquid gel mixture used in the hydro fracturing process.

On Sept. 24, DEP ordered Cabot to cease all hydro fracturing in Susquehanna County and submit an updated plan and an engineering study.

Cabot submitted those documents on Oct. 6.

DEP reviewed and approved the documents on Oct. 16, and gave Cabot the approval to resume hydro fracturing in the county.

Media Release: COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

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DEP ISSUES VIOLATION NOTICE TO CABOT OIL AND GAS

Company Must Properly Clean Up Susquehanna County Gel Spill

09/23/2009 WILLIAMSPORT – The Department of Environmental Protection has issued a notice of violation to Cabot Oil and Gas for two liquid gel spills last week at the company’s Heitsman natural gas well pad in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, which polluted a wetland and caused a fish kill in Stevens Creek.

“DEP is very concerned about spills at Cabot sites and will require Cabot to take all necessary actions to prevent them from recurring,” DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell said.

The notice of violation cites Cabot for an unpermitted discharge of polluting substances, an unpermitted discharge of residual waste, two unpermitted encroachments on Stevens Creek, not containing polluting substances at the well site, and an unpermitted discharge of industrial waste.

These were violations of the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law, Pennsylvania Solid Waste Management Act, the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act, and the Oil and Gas Act.

Cabot must provide a written response within 10 days explaining any additional steps that will be taken to correct the violations, and what steps are being taken to prevent their recurrence.

DEP may assess a civil penalty for the violations once the cleanup is finished.

The two spills last week totaled about 8,000 gallons and involved a liquid gel called LGC-35, which is mixed with water and serves as a lubricant in the well fracking process. About 4.9 gallons of LGC-35 are mixed with each 1,000 gallons of water. Cabot informed DEP that failed pipe connections caused both spills.

The wetland was flushed with water late last week to remove the gel, and the mixture was then pumped to on-site storage tanks. No remediation was required in Stevens Creek. Some soil excavation may be required, depending upon sample results.

Cabot reported a third spill to DEP at the same site on Sept. 22 when a closed valve caused an increase in pressure and a hose ruptured. About 420 gallons of the same gel/water mixture spilled, with all but 10 gallons recovered from a catch basin. The remaining fluid is being cleaned up by Cabot contractors.

DEP's investigation is continuing and additional actions are being evaluated.

Media Release: COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

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DEP ORDERS CABOT OIL AND GAS TO CEASE ALL GAS WELL FRACKING IN SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY

09/25/2009 WILLIAMSPORT Pennsylvania – The Department of Environmental Protection has ordered Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation to cease all natural gas well hydro fracking operations in Susquehanna County until the company completes a number of important engineering and safety tasks.

“The department took this action because of our concern about Cabot’s current fracking process and to ensure that the environment in Susquehanna County is properly protected,” DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell said.

Cabot voluntarily shut down fracking operations at the Heitsman well in Dimock Township on Tuesday afternoon following three separate spills there in less than one week.

The company is currently drilling seven new wells in the county that will require fracking.

The order requires Cabot to develop within 14 days an updated and accurate Pollution Prevention and Contingency Plan and Control and Disposal Plan for all permitted well pad sites in Susquehanna County.

The company must conduct an engineering study of all equipment and work practices associated with hydraulic fracturing at all well sites in the county within 21 days.

The engineering study must include a detailed evaluation and explanation of the causes of the three spills that occurred in the past week and establish corrective measures Cabot will use to prevent similar releases.

Within 21 days of DEP’s approval of the Pollution Prevention and Contingency Plan, the Control and Disposal Plan, and the engineering study, Cabot must fully implement all of the recommendations and requirements in those documents.

The company also must place the approved Pollution Prevention and Contingency Plan and Control and Disposal Plan in a conspicuous location at each permitted well site and provide a copy to each contractor and subcontractor working at any well site.

Contractors and subcontractors cannot begin work at any well site until they receive the two plans.

In a separate enforcement action, DEP issued a notice of violation to Cabot for the third spill at the Heitsman well that occurred Tuesday morning.

The violations noted are nearly the same as in DEP’s Sept. 22 notice of violation issued to Cabot for the two spills last week.

Media Release: COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA


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DEP Says Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. May Resume Hydro Fracking Gas Wells in Susquehanna County

10/16/2009 WILLIAMSPORT -- The Department of Environmental Protection today granted Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. approval to resume hydro fracturing operations on gas wells in Susquehanna County after the company complied with the terms of a Sept. 24 order to cease such work there.

“Cabot submitted an acceptable updated preparedness, prevention and contingency plan and an engineering study to the department on Oct. 6 that was reviewed and met the terms and conditions of the order,” said DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell.

“The department has sent Cabot written authorization to resume the hydro fracking of natural gas wells in Susquehanna County.”

The DEP’s Sept. 24 order stopped all hydro fracking operations at each site throughout the county in response to three separate spills in less than one week at the company’s Heitsman well in Dimock Township.

About 8,000 gallons of a water/liquid gel mixture were lost during the spills, which polluted Stevens Creek and a nearby wetland.

The updated plan includes detailed instructions for employees and contractors to follow during a spill, including the names and phone numbers for Cabot contacts and state and county agencies.

In the engineering study, Cabot noted that the 240-foot elevation difference between the tank farm and the Heitsman well pad was greater than had been encountered at previous fracking locations, indicating that stronger equipment and a different water transfer system design may be needed.

Cabot also presented five administrative corrective measures and 12 engineering corrective measures in the engineering study, including requirements for contractors to certify that necessary preparedness, prevention and contingency plans are in place before work begins and that contractors perform and document hydrostatic integrity testing of all water transfer facility piping.


Media Release: COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

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DEP Reaches Agreement with Cabot to Prevent Gas Migration,
Restore Water Supplies in Dimock Township

Agreement Requires DEP Approval for Well Casing, Cementing

11/4/2009 Meadville – The Department of Environmental Protection and Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. have executed a consent order and agreement that will provide a long-term solution for migrating gas that has affected 13 water supplies in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County.

The affected area covers nine square miles around Carter Road.

The consent order and agreement outlines a process that will give DEP more oversight of Cabot’s new well construction work in the affected area.

Prior to drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or hydro fracking, the company will submit well casing and cementing plans to DEP. Once DEP provides written approval, Cabot may proceed.

“The goal of the consent order and agreement is to ensure a long-term resolution to issues that have emerged in Dimock,” said DEP Northwest Regional Director Kelly Burch.

“The company will focus on the integrity of the wells in the affected area in an attempt to determine the source of the migrating gas.”

This past week, Cabot has provided an interim solution for all of the homes where water supplies have been affected. Cabot must develop a plan by March 31 to restore or replace the affected water supplies permanently.

Under the consent order and agreement, Cabot must additionally submit to DEP:

• Information on all parties who have contacted the company about water quantity or quality issues; and

• A plan that specifically identifies how the company intends to prove the integrity of the casing and cementing on existing wells and fix defective casing and cementing by March 31.

If Cabot fails to fix the defective casing and cementing by the March deadline, the company must plug defective wells or implement another alternative as approved by DEP.

In addition, Cabot paid a $120,000 civil penalty for violations of the Oil and Gas Act, the Solid Waste Management Act and the Clean Streams Law.

The consent order and agreement caps a DEP investigation that began early this year when numerous Dimock area residents reported evidence of natural gas in their water supplies.

DEP inspectors discovered that the well casings on some of Cabot’s natural gas wells were cemented improperly or insufficiently, allowing natural gas to migrate to groundwater.

On Sept. 25, following a series of wastewater spills, DEP ordered Cabot to cease hydro fracking natural gas wells throughout Susquehanna County.

The prohibition was removed after the company completed a number of important engineering and safety tasks.

Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. is a Delaware-based company with a mailing address in Pittsburgh.

Media Release: COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

 

 

 

 

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