The federal Environmental Protection Agency is doing more than looking over the shoulder of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection. The EPA is apparently not satisfied with the way the DEP is handling an investigation into last week’s¬†spill¬†in the Marcellus Shale.
Chesapeake Energy has maintained that malfunctioning equipment caused¬†fracking¬†fluids to¬†flow¬†like a geyser at one of its well in Bradford County.
Officials with the EPA say¬†the DEP is still in control of the investigation, but federal authorities are on the¬†ground¬†asking tough questions and seeking¬†data. It is rather strange since no one was injured and it does not appear that the leak caused irreversible, long term, damage to the environment.
Oversite like this did not occur during¬†former¬†DEP Secretary John Hanger’s watch. Has the Department of Environmental Protection’s reputation fallen that much in the few months since Hanger departed?
Hanger told the Patriot-News, “It means that the gas-drilling industry in Pennsylvania will be regulated in practice by both DEP and EPA, at least in some cases and respects.”
The EPA maintains that the course of action is¬†routine, but this is the first time it has conducted such an inquiry in the Marcellus.
Thousands of gallons of¬†fracking¬†fluid leaked into the ground and a tributary before Chesapeake managed to¬†seal¬†it.
We¬†want¬†a¬†complete¬†accounting of operations at the site to determine our next steps in this incident and to help prevent future releases of this kind,” EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin said in a statement.
Chesapeake has temporarily halted well completion jobs in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
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