“I feel like God is just looking down and everything Cabot tries, He just messes with them.” Or such is my attempt at paraphrasing Dimock, PA resident, Pat Farnelli, as – standing in her backyard and pointing out the natural gas production operations that surround her home in every direction – she describes how pretty much everything that can go wrong in such an operation has gone wrong in Dimock.
In my second post on my long overdue visit to Dimock last week, I had planned to catalog the many failings (at least the known ones) that Pat was describing and which have beset Dimock: exploding drinking water wells; contaminated drinking water; spills; illegal disposal of toxic wastewater, including spraying it on local roads for “dust control”; ailments including skin rashes, severe nausea and headaches; and sickened livestock and family pets.
But then this breaking news trumped me:
As a direct result of some of these incidents, on April 15th, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania issued an order requiring Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation to take serious steps to address the widespread contamination resulting from its failed well casings in the Dimock region before it is allowed to conduct further gas production activities. These measures include a one-year ban on new drilling and a requirement to close at least three wells implicated in the drinking water contamination, as well as a requirement to provide potable water to more than a dozen affected homeowners. In addition, the state imposed a civil penalty of $240,000 for its failure to comply with an earlier Consent Order arising out of its many violations in Dimock, as well as an on-going requirement that Cabot pay the state $30,000 per month until those violations are deemed corrected.
See local coverage of this astounding development here.
And tune in on Wednesday this week for NBC Nightly News’ coverage of the Dimock story.