DEP fines pipeline company more than $300,000
The state Department of Environmental Protection has levied a $306,570 fine against a Texas pipeline company for multiple violations involving construction of two gas pipelines in 2012 and 2013.
According to the DEP, the flawed work was performed by PVR Marcellus Gas Gathering LLC of Williamsport. That company was later acquired by Regency Marcellus Gas Gathering of San Antonio, Texas.
“Many of these violations occurred over a significant period of time,” DEP Director of District Oil and Gas Operations John Ryder said in a statement. “We expect that Regency has made operational changes to avoid problems of this nature during future pipeline construction projects.”
DEP oversight of pipelines is limited to matters related to water quality (for example, a stream crossing) and issues with erosion and sedimentation.
The department says its inspectors found “numerous significant violations related to erosion and sedimentation during PVR’s construction of the Canton lateral natural gas pipeline in Lycoming and Tioga counties.” The company received a $275,000 penalty for those violations.
A separate fine of $31,570 was levied for “multiple sediment discharges and various erosion and sedimentation control violations in Lick Run, an exceptional value watershed, and an unnamed tributary” during PVR’s work on the Wistar extension pipeline in Lycoming and Sullivan counties.
Both fines were paid by Regency in August.
“We respect the findings of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and have addressed the issues identified,” wrote company spokeswoman Vicki Granado in an email. “We look forward to continuing to be a good neighbor and member of the communities throughout Pennsylvania in which we do business.”
This latest penalty announcement comes amid a slew of high-profile fines the DEP has directed at the gas industry in recent weeks.
In September the department announced a record-breaking $4.1 million fine against Range Resources– the state’s largest and most active gas driller. Earlier this month, the DEP said it is seeking an even larger fine of $4.5 million from EQT Corporation for a 2012 spill. An attorney for EQT called the penalty “exorbitant,” arguing that it’s “designed for more headlines than the lawful enforcement of the Commonwealth’s environmental statutes.”