The Pennsylvania Department has ordered Chesapeake Energy to pay a $1 million dollar plus fine. The fine takes into account water wells contaminated in Bradford County and a fire in Washington County last February.
That represents the largest monetary fine issued by the DEP against a gas driller.
DEP Secretary Michael Krancer said in a written statement that “natural gas drilling presents a valuable opportunity for Pennsylvania and the nation.”
The fine comes on the heels of much suspicion of the DEP under Governor Tom Corbett’s watch. Environmentalists have been gravelly concerned that the oil and gas industry held too much sway based on how much money they contributed to Corbett’s campaign.
Corbett and the DEP were called on the carpet in a recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article which noted that under Corbett, the DEP issued far fewer fines to companies in the Marcellus, and the fact that Chesapeake had not been fined.
Krancer in that prepared statement said, “We have an obligation to enforce our regulations and protect our environment.”
In addition to paying the fine, Chesapeake will take corrective action on the troubled wells, and $200,000 of the fine will go toward plugging abandoned oil and gas wells.
Chesapeake issued a news release saying that it has been working with the DEP to resolve the issues.
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