Explosives Aimed At Shale Gas Mapping Raise Concerns in Fayette County

  • Marie Cusick

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports residents in Fayette County are concerned state and federal regulators are allowing a company mapping the Marcellus Shale formation to detonate explosives near homes and outside an approved seismic testing area.
According to the Post-Gazette, the company CGGVeritas Land Inc. is collecting geological information for Chevron and has detonated 10 out of 131 underground explosives it installed without authorization.

In April, the DEP and [the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration] ordered CGGVeritas Land Inc. to remove all the explosives because some were outside the company’s state-approved seismic testing area and others raised concerns about the stability of a coal ash dump and slurry impoundment on the site ….
Residents hear the explosions and are concerned, but regulators haven’t provided any information or reassurance, said Lisa Graves-Marcucci of the Environmental Integrity Project, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group that has been active about air pollution problems in LaBelle.
“This is a mine site, and DEP should require the operators to comply with blasting rules for mine sites, which requires notice to the citizens, a pre-blasting survey and a publicly available blasting schedule,” Ms. Graves-Marcucci said.

Spokespeople for the DEP and the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration tell the Post-Gazette they are monitoring the situation and working to determine which of the remaining explosives can be detonated.

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