Governor Tom Corbett recognized Cabot Oil and Gas with a Community Impact Award at a ceremony today in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The award goes to companies that “[exemplify] the tenet of ‘doing well by doing good,’” according to the Department of Community and Economic Development’s website.
Spokesman George Stark said Cabot was nominated by the Northern Tier’s regional economic development group along with four other companies in Northeast Pennsylvania. According to the DCED, Cabot was awarded for its philanthropy, including helping to raise more than $4 million for a new hospital in Susquehanna County. Most recently, Cabot funded a $2.5 million endowment to Lackawanna College’s School of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
“We’re quite proud to be recognized for the leadership role that we have taken in the community and having great partners with our contractors and vendors to make that positive impact,” Stark said in a phone interview.
Under Governor Ed Rendell, the state Department of Environmental Protection cracked down on Cabot and fined the company $120,000 for incidents of methane migration in the drinking water several residents of Dimock, Susquehanna County. The village close to the New York State border has since become synonymous with problems associated with natural gas drilling. The DEP still bars Cabot from drilling in a nine-square-mile section of Dimock.
The Governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for the DCED did not respond to a question about Cabot’s environmental record. Spokesman George Stark said the award “showcase[s] how the company is part of the fabric of the community.”
Last year, Susquehanna County residents who have grown weary from fights over water contamination organized around issues of air quality related to natural gas development. Rebecca Roter is the group’s chairperson.
“Unfortunately the award for community impact is measured by philanthropic contributions and not balanced by assessing the total cumulative air impacts to the community’s breathing air and subsequent health risks,” said Roter.
Roter said the group, Breathe Easy Susquehanna County, would be willing to recognize companies that voluntarily provide continuous, real-time air quality monitoring and share that data with the public.