Pennsylvania

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Pa. DEP Fines Pipeline Company for Spills in Lycoming County

Susan Phillips / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Pipeline construction in Susquehanna county, Pa.

The Department of Environmental Protection fined PVR Marcellus Gas Gathering $150,000 for polluting High Quality and Exceptional Value streams in the fall of 2011. Following up to a complaint, DEP investigators found pipeline construction activity caused bentonite to spill into Larry’s Creek, which the company failed to report. Subsequent inspections found more violations of the state’s Clean Streams Law, the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act and sediment discharges. From the DEP press release:

The department also determined that large sections of earth disturbance and open pipeline trenches contributed to the violations. PVR had almost five miles of open trench ahead of the pipe installation. The violations do not appear to have caused any long-term impacts to the streams.

A compliance order issued by the Oil and Gas Program in early October 2011 required PVR to immediately cease all earth disturbance activities and implement specific best management practices to minimize the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation.

But after giving PVR Marcellus the green light to continue construction, the company continued to rack up violations, coming into compliance in March 2012. The incidents occurred during the construction of the Coal Mountain pipeline, a 13-mile natural gas gathering line that travels through Cogan House, Cummings, Lycoming and Mifflin Townships.

PVR Marcellus is a subsidiary of PVR Partners, an energy company based in Radnor, Delaware County. The company has roots in the coal industry. But PVR has recently expanded its shale gas operations, purchasing Chief Gathering for $1 billion in April, 2012. A month later, the company announced $380 million in deals to transport gas for several Marcellus gas producers including Southwestern Energy, Range Resources, and Inflection Energy.

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