Shocking new report: PA natural gas industry violating laws

A shocking new report from the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association found that natural gas companies in Pennsylvania violated the law 1435 times over the past two-and-a-half years, including 952 violations that had or were likely to have an impact on the environment.

The most common violation was improper construction of pits that contain waste -- very likely toxic waste. Let me say that again, because it is so disturbing. The most common violation was improper construction of pits that may contain toxic waste. And these numbers don't include almost 1500 citations and warnings for trucks hauling wastewater, which may also be toxic. Other violations included improper discharge of waste, improper well casing construction, improper blow-out prevention, and faulty pollution prevention practices. These are very serious violations that can endanger life, safety, drinking water, and clean air.

Keep in mind that these are only the violations that were found. My guess is there are other incidents that were not reported or uncovered in inspections.

Shame on these companies for not doing a better job.

Honorable Mention goes to Talisman Energy--one of the companies listed in this report. Talisman Energy had 65 violations in this report, although it had a relatively low amount of violations per well compared to other companies. Today Talisman Energy released a letter stating that it "supports responsible Congressional legislative efforts that ensure the disclosure of man-made additives used in hydraulic fracturing operations and acknowledge the important primary role of state regulation."

As far as I know, Talisman is the first company to support federal legislation mandating public disclosure of the contents of hydraulic fracturing fluids. Talisman clearly has to do more to clean up its act--not only did it have 65 violations in this report, but just yesterday Talisman was fined by the state of Pennsylvania for another violation --spilling thousands of gallons of used hydraulic fracturing fluids into a waterway that flows into the Tioga River.

We don't know if these two events are connected, but we want to acknowledge Talisman's support for a very common sense precept -- telling a family what is in the chemicals being used in its backyard near its drinking water. It's the right thing to do. But what we really want is for companies to stop poisoning our environment. It could not be clearer to us that stronger federal regulations and vigorous enforcement are essential.