Pennsylvania Fracking Companies Flaunt Environmental Rules and Regulations…Every Day

Thursday, January 29, 2015
Drilling site near Waynesburg, PA. (photo: Mladen Antonov, AFP, Getty Images)

Violating health and safety laws is a daily occurrence for fracking companies in Pennsylvania, according to a new report (pdf) from environmentalists.


Environment America says drillers broke public health and environment regulations “on virtually a daily basis” over the period from January 2011 to August 2014. The largest 20 frackers averaged more than 1.5 violations a day, with many racking up hundreds of violations.


Leading the way was Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. with 265 no-no’s and Chesapeake Appalachia LLC with 253. Four other companies compiled more than a hundred violations each: Range Resources Appalachia LLC (174), Chief Oil & Gas LLC (150), Swepi LP (119) and XTO Energy Inc. (113).


Some of the violations included allowing toxic chemicals to flow off drilling sites and into local soil and water; endangering drinking water through improper well construction; and dumping industrial waste into local waterways.


The report noted that the numbers collected are probably on the low side “because of Pennsylvania’s consistent pattern of conducting fewer inspections than state rules require, and because inspectors regularly decline to issue violation notices when companies voluntarily agree to fix problems.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Fracking Failures (Environment America) (pdf)

Fracking Company in Pennsylvania Offers Residents $50,000 Each to Promise not to Sue about Anything (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)

Pennsylvania Health Dept. Accused of Ordering Employees to not Speak to Residents who Complained about Fracking (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)


Paul Roden 9 years ago
The DEP of PA, the Department of Environmental Protection, or as I prefer to call it the "Don't Expect Protection" Department, has had its staff cut, its budget cut and has lost any authority and credibility to protect the environment and do its job to enforce the weak environmental regulations. All inspections by DEP agents have to first go to the governor's office in Harrisburg, before issuing a citation for a violation. Maybe Governor Wolf will change that, but I am not holding my breath on that since he accepted $1.5 million in campaign contributions from the gas drilling industry. The DCNR or Department of Conservation and Natural Resources which overseas the state owned parks, forests and game lands has had it's budget cut so low that it is dependent on revenue from the gas leasing to fulfill its mission. That is why I call them the "Department of Consumable Natural Resources." And Governor Wolf expects a 5% extraction tax, tighter enforcement and tough environmental laws from an anti-tax, anti-regulatory, anti-government Republican Tea Party mindset dominated legislature. Good luck with that! It is "unfortunate" that Governor Wolf "wants to have his cake and eat it too." It is "unfortunate" that he has come to the opposite conclusion on fracking that Governor Cuomo has taken in New York State. Fracking is too dangerous, too expensive and totally unnecessary for our energy needs. Ban fracking now like they did in New York.
altoii 9 years ago
Er, time for the headline-writer to open the dictionary and note the difference between "flaunt" and "flout."

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