The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,832 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Exxon charged with illegally dumping fracking waste in Pennsylvania

By Will Kennedy, September 11, 2013. Source: Bloomberg

Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), the world’s largest energy company, was charged with illegally dumping more than 50,000 gallons (189,000 liters) of wastewater at a shale-gas drilling site in Pennsylvania.

Exxon unit XTO Energy Inc. discharged the water from waste tanks at the Marquandt well site in Lycoming County in 2010, according to a statement on the website of Pennsylvania’s attorney general. The pollution was found during an unannounced visit by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.

The inspectors discovered a plug removed from a tank, allowing the wastewater to run onto the ground, polluting a nearby stream. XTO was ordered to remove 3,000 tons of soil to clean up the area. Wastewater discharged from natural-gas wells can contain chlorides, barium, strontium and aluminum, the attorney general’s statement showed.

“Criminal charges are unwarranted and legally baseless,” the XTO unit said yesterday in astatement posted on its website. “There was no intentional, reckless or negligent misconduct by XTO.”

Pennsylvania has become one of the biggest gas-producing states in the past five years as explorers drill the Marcellus shale, a rock formation stretching across the northeast U.S. that holds 24 percent of the nation’s shale gas reserves, according to the Energy Information Administration. Exxon agreed to buy XTO in 2009 for $34.9 billion.

XTO was charged with five counts of unlawful conduct under the Clean Streams Law and three counts under the Solid Waste Management Act.
Legal Risks

“Charging XTO under these circumstances could discourage good environmental practices,” the company said in its statement. “This action tells oil and gas operators that setting up infrastructure to recycle produced water exposes them to the risk of significant legal and financial penalties should a small release occur.”

The company said it “acted quickly” to clean up the spill and there was “no lasting environmental impact,” according to the statement.

XTO said it agreed to pay “reasonable civil penalties” in a July 18, 2013 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice. It also agreed to recycle at least half its drilling wastewater, according to the agreement.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
26,979 Posts
<span style="font-weight: bold">“Charging XTO under these circumstances could discourage good environmental practices,” </span>

I see, making companies comply with the law and punishing them when they don't, will force them to ignore the law more in the future! Wow
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
303 Posts
I believe our anti gas drilling Attorney General is trying to pursue criminal charges in this incident, above and beyond the civil penalties imposed. She campaigned as being in favor of a moratorium on drilling in Pa. She has also taken upon herself the responsibility of determining which laws she will enforce, and what is constitutional or not in the Commonwealth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,487 Posts
There have been numerous incidents of intentional vandalism on drilling sites via spills, that were not the fault of drillers or contractors.

Often disgruntled employees or former employees, but others have been the culprits.

Remember the father and son that opened oil storage tank valves last year, because they were mad at their employer?

Wouldn't put it past some of the more whacko eco extremists, like the dingbats running around a few years ago torching new cars at dealerships?

I'm content to wait for the outcome of the investigation before lumping all drillers into the same "guilty" category, whenever a spill occurs.

As for our current AG, ain't much I've agreed with her on yet. But if the driller is found guilty, so be it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,132 Posts
Not condoning what they did, nor their negligence, or lack of proper safety measures to assure these things don't happen......but their is a big difference between negligence of a employee forgetting a plug in a tank........and criminal intent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,487 Posts
I've never forgotten to install a plug in anything.

Unless I count the time I topped off the hydraulic cylinder on a single axle dump, lowered the bed and noticed fluid all over the place?

Wasn't my fault. If my boss would've let me take the time to replace the pump seal, I wouldn't have been refilling the cylinder every coupla weeks. Lucky we didn't have a DEP man every half mile back in them days?

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
303 Posts
Agree with you there, buzz. I think our current AG has designs on even higher office, and these "criminal" charges are politically based.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
OldMountain said:
I believe our anti gas drilling Attorney General is trying to pursue criminal charges in this incident, above and beyond the civil penalties imposed. She campaigned as being in favor of a moratorium on drilling in Pa. She has also taken upon herself the responsibility of determining which laws she will enforce, and what is constitutional or not in the Commonwealth.
X2
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,753 Posts
<span style="font-style: italic">In a move that shocked the oil and gas industry, the state of Pennsylvania is bringing criminal charges against an ExxonMobil subsidiary for a 2010 wastewater spill.

Environmentalists are jumping for joy. “We have been very concerned about enforcement in the Marcellus, and we welcome the attorney general’s taking an active role,” said Myron Arnowitt, Pennsylvania director of Clean Water Action.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced charges against ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy for “discharging more than 50,000 gallons of toxic wastewater from storage tanks at a gas-well site in Lycoming County,” reports the Philadelphia Inquirer

</span>


Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/09/14/penn-b.../#ixzz2erdUGjQY
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,529 Posts
This is much more about politics than it is about justice or environmental controls.
AGs are the last people who should be determining which laws are enforced.
She has an agenda, probably consistent with those who elected her to office.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/press.aspx?id=7191


Evidence and testimony was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges being filed today.

XTO owns the Marquardt well site in Penn Township, which contains two natural gas wells on the site. During natural gas extraction, these wells produce waste water containing toxic substances, such as chlorides, barium, strontium and aluminum. XTO allegedly stored this waste water in 21,000-gallon storage tanks at the Marquardt site for subsequent processing.

The grand jury found that XTO hired a company to recycle waste water at the Marquardt site from Nov. 4, 2010 through Nov. 11, 2010. After that one-week period, XTO directed that company to remove their processing equipment from the site and transport it to another XTO well site in West Virginia. However, XTO allegedly continued to transport and store gas well waste water at the Marquardt site despite not having the proper equipment on site to safely store or process it.

The illegal discharge of gas well waste water was discovered on Nov. 16, 2010, when an inspector with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) made an unannounced visit to the Marquardt site.

According to the grand jury, during that visit a DEP inspector discovered that a rear discharge valve on a storage tank had been opened and a drain plug had been removed, causing gas well waste water to flow out of the storage tank onto the ground. There also was evidence of prior waste water discharges from other storage tanks at the Marquardt site.

The grand jury found that between Nov. 12, 2010 and Nov. 16, 2010 more than 93,000 gallons of waste water was transported to and stored at the Marquardt site, of which approximately 57,000 gallons was unaccounted for following the spill.

Kane said that the toxic waste water flowed into and polluted an unnamed tributary of Sugar Run. As a result of the spill, DEP required more than 3,000 tons of contaminated soil to be excavated and removed from the Marquardt site

XTO allegedly failed to place a spill containment system under any of the storage tanks at the Marquardt site; failed to lock or otherwise secure any of the storage tanks on site; and failed to utilize any security measures to prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing the Marquardt site.

According to the grand jury, XTO did not have a permit to discharge waste water at the Marquardt site and failed to report any waste water spills to DEP as required by law.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,350 Posts
Guess they "forgot" the about these plugs too...

g17 said:
There also was evidence of prior waste water discharges from other storage tanks at the Marquardt site.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,832 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
g17 said:
http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/press.aspx?id=7191


Evidence and testimony was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges being filed today.

XTO owns the Marquardt well site in Penn Township, which contains two natural gas wells on the site. During natural gas extraction, these wells produce waste water containing toxic substances, such as chlorides, barium, strontium and aluminum. XTO allegedly stored this waste water in 21,000-gallon storage tanks at the Marquardt site for subsequent processing.

The grand jury found that XTO hired a company to recycle waste water at the Marquardt site from Nov. 4, 2010 through Nov. 11, 2010. After that one-week period, XTO directed that company to remove their processing equipment from the site and transport it to another XTO well site in West Virginia. However, XTO allegedly continued to transport and store gas well waste water at the Marquardt site despite not having the proper equipment on site to safely store or process it.

The illegal discharge of gas well waste water was discovered on Nov. 16, 2010, when an inspector with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) made an unannounced visit to the Marquardt site.

According to the grand jury, during that visit a DEP inspector discovered that a rear discharge valve on a storage tank had been opened and a drain plug had been removed, causing gas well waste water to flow out of the storage tank onto the ground. There also was evidence of prior waste water discharges from other storage tanks at the Marquardt site.

The grand jury found that between Nov. 12, 2010 and Nov. 16, 2010 more than 93,000 gallons of waste water was transported to and stored at the Marquardt site, of which approximately 57,000 gallons was unaccounted for following the spill.

Kane said that the toxic waste water flowed into and polluted an unnamed tributary of Sugar Run. As a result of the spill, DEP required more than 3,000 tons of contaminated soil to be excavated and removed from the Marquardt site

XTO allegedly failed to place a spill containment system under any of the storage tanks at the Marquardt site; failed to lock or otherwise secure any of the storage tanks on site; and failed to utilize any security measures to prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing the Marquardt site.

According to the grand jury, XTO did not have a permit to discharge waste water at the Marquardt site and failed to report any waste water spills to DEP as required by law.
g17 said:
There also was evidence of prior waste water discharges from other storage tanks at the Marquardt site.
runningdeer said:
Guess they "forgot" the about these plugs too...
*Crickets* Even the NG cheerleaders can't put a positive spin on that one...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
463 Posts
Don't want to disappoint so I can start some cheering (spills are a serious matter but criminal needs serious proof)...So who is criminally liable? The company? The ceo? the field man overseeing the operation? The geologist that decided to drill the well there? The person that allegedly opened and drained a tank? In 2010, there were no regulations requiring the spill containment that is required now. Also, even if it is smart to put locks on tanks, there was no law requiring it at that time. If a third party did this, how can you criminally charge XTO for not reporting if they did not know. And there are uses of some verbiage used in the legal writings that make my "fractivist" radar go up. Such as toxic, unannounced DEP visit (all inspections are unannounced), flowed into unnamed trib but no mention of a fish kill.
It is hard to really comment or come to any conclusions without seeing pictures and such but as a former inspector, I see enough inconsistencies in the article that I could question criminal charges.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
1trueamerican said:
unannounced DEP visit (all inspections are unannounced),
http://www.phillyburbs.com/news/local/co...2.html?mode=jqm

Krancer said the department conducted 5,000 unannounced inspections of well sites last year(2010), twice as many as in the previous year.

Number of gas wells inspected in 2010 according to Pennsylvania oil and gas well and inspection statistics: 8,565.

It sure doesn't look like all inspections were unannounced in 2010...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,468 Posts
Not to stir the pot but dont you think it wiould be stupid not to put a lock on the valve. Even though it wasnt masndatory at the time. The landowner also needs held accountable for any spills. Go ahead flame away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,350 Posts
Retired Donkey said:
Not to stir the pot but dont you think it wiould be stupid not to put a lock on the valve. Even though it wasnt masndatory at the time. The landowner also needs held accountable for any spills. Go ahead flame away.
Are you kidding me? There is no way a tiny poor company like XTO could possible afford locks for every valve...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
463 Posts
Locks or not, this does not rise to criminal prosecution even if they had real evidence. Anti drilling AG sees Corbett blood in the water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
Here's a link to the Grand Jury presentment against XTO... According to that, the criminal charges (misdemeanors - five counts of unlawful conduct under the Clean Streams Law and three counts of unlawful conduct under the Solid Waste Management Act) are stemming from the discharge of waste water to the ground or waters of the Commonwealth without a permit. This includes both the 57,000 gallons involved in the November, 2010 incident and the evidence found by the DEP of prior release from another onsite tank. (laboratory analysis)

http://www.scribd.com/doc/167417485/Grand-jury-presentment-against-XTO
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top