Range Resources Assessed $150,000 in Penalties for Violations at S.W. Penna. Marcellus Gas Well Pads

by Duane Nichols on June 15, 2020

Penna. Attorney General Josh Shapiro

Range Resources to pay $50,000 in fines and $100,000 in contributions for Washington County well violations

From an Article by Deb Erdley, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, 6/12/20

Range Resources, a major driller in the region’s Marcellus Shale industry, pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor counts of negligent oversight of Washington County well sites and will pay $50,000 in fines and $100,000 in contributions to the Washington County watershed funds, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Friday.

The plea was the culmination of a two-year statewide Grand Jury investigation into allegations of environmental crimes across the state by oil and gas companies companies engaged in horizontal drilling and fracking.

The charges alleged that Range’s negligent maintenance of a waste water storage pond at the Yeager well site in Amwell Township contaminated the water at local springs on the Yeager property. The neighborhood’s longstanding battle over allegations of air and water contamination was detailed in “Amity and Prosperity,” the 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner for nonfiction.

Charges involving the Brownlee well site in Buffalo Township alleged that leaks from a containment tank holding fracking waste water contaminated nearly ⅓ acre of a nearby farm and required the removal of approximately 100 trees and 12,000 square feet of soil.

“In Pennsylvania, clean air and pure water is a constitutional right, yet too often frackers from across the country come to our Commonwealth, walk into our communities, and — sometimes without care or consequence — strip us of those basic rights. Backed by big investors and big influence, too many fracking companies act like they’re above the law, and put themselves ahead of the people who work on the job site, as well as the farmer, neighbor, and children impacted by their operations. We’re here to remind these fracking companies that the people of Pennsylvania come first,” Shapiro said.

A spokesman for Range Resources said the company has taken responsibility for the incidents cited in the charges, has completed “full remediation, approved by regulators,” at both sites and has enhanced containment operations.

“Over the past decade, Range has led significant advancements in operational innovations that have enhanced the safety and sustainability of our industry, which include becoming the first company to voluntarily disclose our fracturing fluid, and to achieve 100 percent reuse levels through our water recycling program,” Range spokesman Mark Windle said.

Terms of the pleas agreement call for Range to pay a $6,000 fine to the Solid Waste Abatement Fund, $3,000 to the Clean Water Fund, a $16,000 charitable contribution to the Washington County Watershed Alliance for the Brownlee site, $41,000 to the Solid Waste Abatement Fund, and an $84,000 charitable contribution to the Washington County Watershed Alliance for the Yeager site.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Skylark Alert June 15, 2020 at 9:38 am

PA Permit Violation Issued to Range Resources Appalachia Llc in Lewis Twp, Lycoming County

Date/Time: 2019 December 11 / 12:00 am
Lat/Lng: 41.417356/-77.095878

Report Details
Operator: Range Resources Appalachia Llc
Violation Type: Environmental Health & Safety
Violation Date: 2019-12-11

Violation Code: 78a57(a) – CONTROL, STORAGE AND DISPOSAL OF PRODUCTION FLUIDS – Operator failed to collect brine and other fluids produced during operation of the well in a tank, series of tanks, or other device approved by the Department for subsequent disposal or reuse.

Violation ID: 870697
Permit API: 081-21357
Unconventional: Yes
County: Lycoming
Municipality: Lewis Twp

Inspection Date: 2019-12-11
Comments: On December 11, 2019, PA-DEP representative Brad Kline conducted a reported incident investigation at Range Resources Cornwall 1-5H Well Pad. The DEP received a spill notification (CTS 346917) of a release of about 15 gallons production fluid from a dump line on the 4H well. The DEP spoke with Range Resources upon entering the well pad. At the time of the investigation, Range Resources had already excavated the impacted area. The impacted soil was placed on containment to be classified and hauled away. The impacted area was about 4′x 2′ x 2′. The hole in the dump line formed near the GPU. The release did not appear to leave the pad. Violation noted but immediately corrected.

https://alerts.skytruth.org/report/3a1f71f6-9b62-3673-bd2f-c683abd01e2b/

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Barbara Miller June 15, 2020 at 9:46 am

COUPLE SUES RANGE RESOURCES OVER FLUID LEAK AFFECTING THEM

Barbara Miller, Observer Reporter, June 6, 2019

Buffalo Township residents who operate a kennel filed suit this week in Washington County Court over the leak of “fracking” fluids from a neighbor’s Marcellus Shale natural gas well installation they said engulfed their property last year.

Keith and Lesa Stanley, owners of a home, detached garage and South Sunset Beach Boarding Kennel, sued Range Resources-Appalachia LLC over an incident the night of Jan. 28, 2018, originating on the property of Michael G. Brownlee.

According to the suit, the neighboring property has a well pad on an “artificially constructed hill” containing a host of storage tanks for fluids, storm water, water contaminated with brine, and other materials used to fracture deep strata in the extraction of natural gas.

The Stanleys assert that mature trees, timber, grass and soil were washed away and that 2.9 million pounds of contaminated soil had to be removed, most of it from their 46-acre property.

They said they faced the risk of contamination to their drinking water supply; that they were unable to fully operate their kennel, built in 2007, for nearly two months; and that the spill devalued their property.

The Stanleys claim the episode caused them mental anguish, anxiety, sleeplessness and headaches.

According to documents accompanying the suit, the state Department of Environmental Protection began an investigation the next morning, finding four environmental violations related to contamination within the watershed of Buffalo Creek.

Weavertown Environmental was on the site, having set up two sumps to capture the flow and was preparing a remediation plan, according to the DEP reports. The inspector did not observe any dead aquatic creatures.

The regulatory agency issued a well permit in November 2013, noting in correspondence filed with the prothonotary that the permit was granted in a specially protected watershed that drained “to streams which are classified by the Environmental Quality Board as either high quality or exceptional value due to their unique characteristics or sensitive use.”

The letter sought to remind the recipient “of the necessity to adequately control and dispose of waste fluids generated from your activities at this location. It is expected that you will conduct your activities with these concerns in mind.”

The Stanleys are seeking a jury trial and monetary damages.

“We are not aware of this lawsuit nor have we received any documentation of this lawsuit to date,” wrote Mark Windle, manager of corporate communications, public, community and government relations for Range Resources, in response to an emailed request for comment.

https://observer-reporter.com/news/localnews/couple-sues-range-resources-over-fluid-leak-affecting-them-and/article_eb11e606-8884-11e9-9866-976876f2e622.html

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Sky Truth Alert June 15, 2020 at 9:52 am

PA Permit Violation Issued to Range Resources Appalachia Llc in Lewis Twp, Lycoming County

Date/Time: 2012 July 24 / 12:00 am
Lat/Lng: 41.4030083333/-77.0732222222

Report Details
Operator Range Resources Appalachia Llc
Violation Type Environmental Health & Safety
Violation Date 2012-07-24
Violation Code 401CSL – Discharge of pollultional material to waters of Commonwealth.
Violation ID 644956
Permit API 081-20763
Unconventional Y
County Lycoming
Municipality Lewis Twp
Inspection Type Incident- Response to Accident or Event
Inspection Date 2012-07-24
Comments Brine spill from the pad Violations on the 1H well Brine spill left containment, flowed off the pad, and into waters of the Commonwealth.

Violation(s)
ID: 644956 Date: 2012-07-24 Type:Environmental Health & Safety
401CSL – Discharge of pollultional material to waters of Commonwealth. Brine spill left containment, flowed off the pad, and into waters of the Commonwealth.

ID: 644957 Date: 2012-07-24 00:00:00 Type:Environmental Health & Safety
301CSL – Stream discharge of IW, includes drill cuttings, oil, brine and/or silt Brine spill left containment, flowed off the pad, and into waters of the Commonwealth.

ID: 644958 Date: 2012-07-24 00:00:00 Type:Environmental Health & Safety
307CSL – Discharge of industrial waste to waters of Commonwealth without a permit. Brine spill left containment, flowed off the pad, and into waters of the Commonwealth.

ID: 644959 Date: 2012-07-24 00:00:00 Type:Administrative
91.33A – Failure to notify DEP of pollution incident. No phone call made forthwith Brine spill left containment, flowed off the pad, and into waters of the Commonwealth.

ID: 644960 Date: 2012-07-24 00:00:00 Type:Environmental Health & Safety
91.34A – Failure to take all necessary measures to prevent spill. Inadequate diking, potential pollution Brine spill left containment, flowed off the pad, and into waters of the Commonwealth.

ID: 644961 Date: 2012-07-24 00:00:00 Type:Environmental Health & Safety
78.54 – Failure to properly control or dispose of industrial or residual waste to prevent pollution of the waters of the Commonwealth. Brine spill left containment, flowed off the pad, and into waters of the Commonwealth.

ID: 644962 Date: 2012-07-24 00:00:00 Type:Administrative
78.56(1) – Pit and tanks not constructed with sufficient capacity to contain pollutional substances. Brine spill left containment, flowed off the pad, and into waters of the Commonwealth.

ID: 644963 Date: 2012-07-24 00:00:00 Type:Environmental Health & Safety
SWMA301 – Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste. Brine spill left containment, flowed off the pad, and into waters of the Commonwealth.
Enforcement Action(s)

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Public Herald June 30, 2020 at 11:57 pm

Officials Told Families Their Water Was Safe After Fracking, Now A Grand Jury Says Crimes Were Committed, Public Herald, June 26, 2020

Watch newsCOUP This Wednesday, July 1st at 8:00 PM EDT for a special live broadcast about the Attorney General’s charges, Public Herald’s investigation, and the criminals at DEP who remain at large.

https://publicherald.org/officials-told-families-their-water-was-safe-after-fracking-now-a-grand-jury-says-crimes-were-committed/

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