A Bad PR Week For Cabot
It hasn’t been a banner week for Cabot Oil and Gas, as far as PR is concerned.
Here’s a quick review.
A few days ago, the Associated Press reported the company has stopped providing 11 Susquehanna County residents with drinking water:
Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. plans to end delivery of bulk and bottled water to 11 families in Dimock on Wednesday. Cabot asserts Dimock’s water is safe to drink and won permission from state environmental regulators last month to stop paying for water for the residents. A judge on Wednesday declined to issue an emergency order compelling Cabot to continue the deliveries.
Several environmental groups urged the state Department of Environmental Protection to reverse course, saying Cabot has not met its legal obligation to restore the water supply.
“The department’s decision is irresponsible given that Dimock residents have relied on the trucking of temporary fresh water for drinking, bathing and other household uses,” Jeff Schmidt, director of the Sierra Club’s Pennsylvania chapter, wrote to Pennsylvania Environmental Secretary Michael Krancer this week. “The residents’ water supplies have not been restored, either in quantity or quality.”
The methane migration in Dimock has become a banner issue for anti-drilling activists, who argue Cabot’s drilling caused the problems, and are vowing to make community their “Alamo.”
The NRDC is planning a lawsuit aimed at forcing Cabot to continue providing the water, and next week, Gasland director Josh Fox and other high-profile fracking opponents will stage an anti-Cabot rally in Dimock.
Meantime, this morning the Scranton Times-Tribune reported the company is late in submitting a report to the Department of Environmental Protection.
Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. did not submit a report to state environmental regulators as planned on Wednesday that will detail the natural gas driller’s investigation of a whistle-blower’s claims of spills and cover-ups during the first years of its Susquehanna County operations.
A Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman said Thursday morning that the agency had not yet received the report, which Cabot has said will prove that the incidents alleged by former employee Scott Ely had no environmental impact.
“It was supposed to be in yesterday (Wednesday) so we hope to receive it today (Thursday),” DEP spokeswoman Colleen Connolly said.
A Cabot spokesman said Thursday that the company had not yet submitted the report to regulators.
The whistle-blower in question, Scott Ely, detailed a long string of complaints in a mid-November interview with the Times-Tribune. He’s also featured in today’s New York Times report on what the paper calls misleading natural gas drilling leases.