Marcellus Fracking Well Pad Fire in Washington County, PA

by Duane Nichols on January 4, 2017

Sixteen Fire Companies Respond to Well Pad Fire

Fire erupts at Marcellus Shale pad in Somerset Township, Washington County, PA

From an Article by Scott Beveridge, Washington PA Observer-Reporter, January 1, 2017

BENTLEYVILLE – A large fire sent a thick black plume of smoke into the sky Sunday at a Marcellus Shale natural gas pad in Somerset Township of Washington County, PA.

Pennsylvania Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay said the 4 p.m. blaze compromised four pumper trucks used in the well fracturing process at Rice Energy’s Papa Bear site at 78 Lusk Road.

“They had it under control within an hour,” said Solobay, who responded to the fire.  He said the fire didn’t ignite any natural gas and no one was injured during the incident.

Pennsylvania Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay discussed the fire Sunday at the Rice Energy Papa Bear Marcellus Shale natural gas pad in Somerset Township. As many as 16 fire departments responded to the fire, which remained under investigation Sunday night, Solobay said.

The Ellsworth, Valley Inn and Fallowfield Township fire departments were among the first to be called to the scene, Solobay said. The other fire departments were needed for their tanker trucks to bring water to the fire scene.

Some nearby residents “self-evacuated” after seeing the fire, which may have been sparked by a malfunction in a hydraulic line, Solobay said.

He said all of the foam used to douse the blaze by the Washington County Public Safety Department appeared to have been contained at the site.  PA-DEP workers would remain there to inspect the area to determine if anything was contaminated during the fire.

Don Bialosky, an emergency response manager at the state Department of Environmental Protection in Pittsburgh, said the fire appeared to have been an accident.

Southpointe-based Rice Energy spokeswoman Kimberly Price said all of the employees at the pad were accounted for, before she deferred additional comment on the fire to Solobay and Bialosky.

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 See also the Article in the Comments below.  Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax the fella behind the tree!

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Power Source January 4, 2017 at 2:32 pm

CONSOL paid for Super Bowl trip for Sen. Tim Solobay in 2011

By Tracie Mauriello and Angela Coulombis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 16, 2011

HARRISBURG — Senate Pro Tem Joe Scarnati isn’t the only lawmaker to let Consol Energy Inc. pay his way to the Super Bowl.

State Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Canonsburg, confirmed today that Consol provided him a hotel room and travel in a company plane to the Super Bowl in Arlington, Texas, where the Steelers lost to the Green Bay Packers on February 6, 2011.

After two days of dodging phone calls and visits from Capitol reporters, Mr. Solobay today issued a written statement through his secretary. The secretary also relayed a message from Mr. Solobay, saying that “after the costs are calculated by Consol, he will be addressing it.”

Mr. Solobay would not explain whether that means he will repay Consol. In his written statement, Mr. Solobay said he paid for his own ticket to the game and that he followed “the letter of the law regarding contact with lobbyists.”

State ethics laws require lawmakers to report lobbyists’ gifts worth more than $650. Government watchdogs say costly gifts, such as Super Bowl trips allow lobbyists to curry favor with decision makers.

“Lobbyists don’t do these things without expecting something in return. Anyone who says otherwise is trying to fool people,” said Tim Potts, co-founder of Democracy Rising PA. “These lawmakers should ask their constituents if they want them beholden to a special interest.”

Mr. Solobay disagrees. ”The notion that this trip could influence my vote in the Senate is absurd,” he said in his written statement. “I talked. I listened. In the end, I will always do what is best for my constituents.”

Mr. Solobay has publicly opposed taxing natural gas drilling and has said he wants to reduce bureaucratic red tape that has hindered the industry’s development.

Department of State records show that Consol executives and political action committees controlled by the company contributed at least $4,300 to Mr. Solobay’s political campaigns since 2005.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday that Consol paid for Mr. Scarnati’s game ticket, plane ride and hotel bill. A day later, Mr. Scarnati R- Jefferson, said he would reimburse the company. It is not known how many other lawmakers Consol transported to Texas for the 2011 Super Bowl.

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Power Source + January 4, 2017 at 6:02 pm

Equipment failure at pump caused fire at Washington County gas well

From Power Source, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 2, 2016

A fire that raged at the site of gas well Sunday in Somerset Township, Washington County, was the result of equipment failure on a pump, a spokeswoman with Rice Energy said Monday.

No one was injured in the fire, which “compromised six of the 20 pumps on the well pad,” according to Kimberly Price, a Rice spokeswoman. Ms. Price said the pump that caused the fire is used in the fracking process. She said no other equipment was damaged in the blaze.

The fire, which began around 4 p.m. and was extinguished about 1½ hours later, affected the Papa Bear well pad off Lusk Road near Almond Road. The company has halted operations at the site while the investigation continues. Ms. Rice would not provide a timetable for when operations would resume.

“Rice Energy is currently working with regulatory officials and first responders to investigate the incident and determine the cause for ignition of the pumps,” she said.

She said Rice representatives will meet with local residents about the incident. “We are currently working with our neighbors and local officials to communicate the details of the incident and address any issues this matter may have caused,” Ms. Price said.

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