Friday, April 28, 2017

Drilling Company, Environmental Group Appeal Indiana County DEP Drilling Waste Injection Well Permit

Two appeals were filed with the Environmental Hearing Board over drilling waste injection well permits issued by the Department of Environmental Protection in Grant Township, Indiana County this week.  The EHB combined the appeals into one case for action before the Board.
The appeal by the PA General Energy Company, LLC challenges all 26 special conditions DEP attached to the permit to protect the environment, mechanical integrity conditions and monitor and mitigate any seismic activity that may result from the operation of the well in the future.
The appeal alleges the special conditions were imposed without a basis in law, the conditions represent development and applications of a regulation not properly promulgated and that the regulation of the construction, use and operation of injections wells generally and the specific well permitted by DEP specifically is expressly or impliedly preempted by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
The second appeal by the East Run Hellbenders Society, Stacy Long and Judith Wanchisn filed Tuesday challenges the permit on 39 different grounds, including--
--  Violates the equal protection rights of the citizens of Grant Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, in that it results in disparate treatment based on economic status of communities which are otherwise similarly situated in every respect.
-- Fails to require the permittee to identify with specificity the chemical composition of the waste intended to be injected into the ground and as a result DEP cannot assure compliance with state laws regulating the generation, handling, transportation and disposal of hazardous waste.
-- Fails to require the permittee to include tracers within the disposed of waste so that residents who may have their water supply contaminated with the disposed of fracking waste will be able to recognize the contamination and trace it back to the source.
--Fails to require the permittee to provide financial surety for pollution damages and remediation. The permit applications reference a surety bond of $60,000, but a closer reading of the applications reveals that this surety bond is exclusively for the eventual plugging and abandonment of the Yanity #1025, The bond is not a financial surety or guarantee of performance for clean-up of pollution emanating from the proposed Yanity #1025 injection and storage operations. Even if this bond were applicable to pollution damage and clean-up, the amount is woefully inadequate.
-- Fails to take into account the proximity of the East Run Watershed to the site of the injection well. The East Run Watershed is a High Quality Watershed, See, 25 Pa.Code §93.4b(a), located approximately 1000 feet southwest of the well site. Mill Run Creek and East Run Creek, both High Quality waterways, are each within the zone of endangering influence after ten years. By placing these waterways at risk of contamination by surface spills, spills during transport, migration of waste fluids out of the containment area, and other types of releases of the fracking disposal waste, the DEP has failed in its constitutionally imposed obligations to the citizens of Grant Township.
Click Here for more information on the East Run Hellbenders Society.
The EHB schedule for consideration of the case says: initial discovery and exploration of a settlement by June 5, full discovery is to be completed by October 23 and all motions are to be filed by November 23. A hearing will be held sometime thereafter.   The scheduled can be amended.
Click Here to find documents related to the combined appeals.  Click Here to find documents related to the PA General Energy Company appeal.  Click Here to find documents related to the East Run Hellbenders Society appeal.
Related Story:
DEP Approves 2 Underground Drilling Waste Injection Wells In Elk, Indiana Counties

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