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Cabot to pay $50,000 for violating water regulations

A Cabot fracking site in Susquehanna County.

A Cabot fracking site in Susquehanna County.

Houston, Texas-based Cabot Oil & Gas has offered to pay a $50,000 settlement to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission for violating its consumptive water use regulations late last year.

Every gas well pad needs commission approval before drilling operations can commence. Cabot submitted an application to the SRBC in November 2014 for its Stellitano AP1 pad in Gibson Township, Susquehanna County. However, the commission noticed the company began some pre-drilling work on December 5th, before it had received permission.

“They got a little eager and started drilling pilot holes before they got approval,” says SRBC compliance director, Eric Roof. “It’s a very rare occurrence. In general, Cabot and most of the gas industry is very compliant. This was unintentional as far as we determined.”

The SRBC sent a cease-and-desist order to Cabot, but later approved the application and lifted the order. A Cabot spokesman could not be reached for comment Friday.

Roof says there was no environmental harm and Cabot was not actually using any water. But he says any project that uses water has to have commission approval before construction of a water-related feature, like a well hole.

The SRBC’s commissioners will decide whether to accept the settlement agreement at their upcoming meeting on March 5th.

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