Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hanger: DEP Working to Minimize Pollution from Drilling

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger says he's "not surprised" fifteen Susquehanna County residents are suing Cabot Oil and Gas for contaminating their drinking water.
DEP officials say Cabot's natural gas drilling contaminated thirteen wells in Dimock Township over the past year.
Residents have filed a federal lawsuit against the company in an attempt to stop future extractions.

Hanger wouldn't comment whether or not he supports the legal effort, but said DEP has taken a number of actions against the company.

"One was to literally tell them they couldn't frak (use chemically treated water under high pressure to break the shale to release the gas) for a period of time, and they had to come to the department with a plan to ensure their future operations would be in compliance. We've also issued two different fines."

Cabot is one of several companies drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale formation. Officials first became aware of the leaks and contamination on January 1, when a gas leak caused a well to explode in one Dimock resident's yard.

Hanger says officials are working with other drillers to minimize pollution.

"We're also encouraging reuse and recycling so there isn't a discharge back to streams, and more and more companies actually are moving to reuse and recycle water to limit what water would need to be treated.

Both Hanger and Governor Rendell say they're satisfied with DEP's inspection and oversight efforts.

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