A Pennsylvania court is upholding a $1.1 million fine against natural gas exploration giant EQT Corp., saying there is substantial evidence that it recklessly violated environmental laws when a wastewater holding pond polluted streams and groundwater in 2012.
Monday’s Commonwealth Court decision faulted EQT’s construction of the pit at a Tioga County well site and its investigation into and response to the contamination, citing evidence the company “dragged its feet.”
The Department of Environmental Protection originally sought a record $4.5 million fine, but the state Supreme Court struck down the agency’s practice of compounding fines for each contaminated water body.
A DEP spokesman tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the agency is pleased with the decision. An EQT spokeswoman says it’s disappointed and will review the opinion to determine its next step.