More than $1 million in drilling fine for Chesapeake Energy

    Pennsylavnia’s Department of Environmental Protection has fined Chesapeake Energy more than $1 million for natural gas drilling violations.

    A Consent Order and Agreement outlines fines of $900,000 for contaminating private water supplies in Bradford County, $200,000 of which must go toward the DEP’s well-plugging fund. Under a second COA, Chesapeake will pay $188,000 for a tank fire at its drilling site in Avella, Washington County.

    “The water well contamination fine is the largest single penalty DEP has ever assessed against an oil and gas operator, and the Avella tank fire penalty is the highest we could assess under the Oil and Gas Act. Our message to drillers and to the public is clear,” DEP Secretary Michael Krancer said in a release.

    Investigations led the DEP to discover contaminated groundwater that resulted from improper well casings and cementing in shallow zones.

    WHYY’s Scott Detrow will have the full report on this later.

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