Wednesday, February 28, 2024

40 Individuals File Appeals, Most Handwritten, Of DEP’s Permit For Catalyst Energy Oil & Gas Wastewater Injection Well In McKean County

Appeals have been filed by 40 individuals with the Environmental Hearing Board over DEP’s permit for the Catalyst Energy, Inc.’s oil and gas wastewater injection well near Cyclone in Keating Township, McKean County.

On January 25, Marcellus Drilling News reported the Department of Environmental Protection issued a permit to Catalyst Energy, Inc. for an oil and gas wastewater injection well. DEP approved the permit on January 11, but did not publicly announce it until January 23 in an article by WESB News.   Read more here.

Reasons For Appeals

The 40 individuals appealing the permit expressed similar concerns about the environmental, safety and health hazards presented by the wastewater injection well.  

Frequently mentioned were--

-- “My concern is that this is the first injection well this company has put in anywhere.  Can they guarantee it won’t leak?  If it were to, what effects could it have on our environment and us?”

-- Catalyst Energy was fined $185,000 [in 2012] for water contamination, erosion violations and spills, which they ignored and did nothing until they were shutdown.”

-- “I’m concerned about the health and safety of my two small children, concerned about the safety of other children.”

-- “With the truck traffic that would be constant.  The damage that it would do to our roads.”  

-- “No bond is currently required for any damage to area roads.  This is wrong, and taxpayers will foot the bill.”

-- “My home is 1,000 feet from the site.  If I want to move wouldn’t be able to because the property value wouldn’t be there.  If my property would get damaged, I wouldn’t be able to fix it.  My husband and I have an average income.  We don’t have thousands of dollars.”

-- “My home is located across the road from where it would be.  I’m concerned about our water supply being contaminated and about our air and environment.  We are not rich people in this area and how would we be able to fix an expense like that?”

-- “I’m concerned because the well they chose already has a problem with a natural gas leak and needs to be re-cased before it even gets started.  It makes me more suspicious if they discovered this problem, what others lie under the ground?”

-- “There are 103 known, unplugged [oil and gas] wells in the immediate area of this disposal well - please plug them.”

-- “No pre-testing is required by Catalyst Energy for household [drinking water wells] outside 1,000 feet of the well.”

-- “The Cyclone community’s water supply has been an issue for decades.  Many of our citizens are unable to drink their well water because of contamination from previous oil well activity.  This injection well has a very real potential to contaminate our water wells with hazardous, poisonous substances, making our water unsafe to use in any capacity.  This is a major concern for all of us.”

-- “The people in the surrounding area (Cyclone, Ormsby Hilltop area) of the proposed well have lived several generations with polluted water from oil wells and water intake wells that were not properly maintained and thereby have allowed oil and gas to enter the public and private drinking wells.”

-- “We have four young grandchildren we love very much.  I wouldn’t want them to drink contaminated water.”

-- “I am very upset that we were not notified about this well site without any time to research it.  At the very least we (every household within say 3 miles) should have gotten a letter from the DEP about 6 months prior.”

-- “A full list of all chemicals known to be in this fluid [should be available].”  “The DEP nor Catalyst Energy has not revealed what toxins or chemicals are or will be in the wastewater.”

-- “I am very concerned that my community is not being listened to or taken seriously because we are a very small, very rural community that consists of many elderly and many residents that are living on a fixed income. Therefore, our own government is trying to push this into this area because we do not have the capacity to properly defend it.”

Individuals Appealing

The following individuals have filed appeals as of  February 28--

-- Miranda Lananger - Cyclone:  Case Information

-- Steven Lananger - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Eunice Freer - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Scott Freer - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Mary Hurst - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Diane Caldwell - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Mark Caldwell - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Cintra Johnson - Smethport: Case Information

-- Mary Maley - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Jamie Coleman - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Austin Coleman - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Michael Coleman - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Linda Cole - Cycle: Case Information

-- Joe Cole - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Mary Ann ‘Mary’ Wilder - Lewis Run: Case Information [McKean County Commissioner]

-- Russ Orner & Lori Orner - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Tama Fitzsimmons - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Richard Fitzsimmons - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Helen Dragonette - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Jack Shonts - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Judy Schmidt Shonts - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Larry Saar - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Katherine Saar - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Lisa Rice - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Todd Korb - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Jan Hendryx - Erie: Case Information

-- Jeffrey Hendryx - Lewis Run: Case Information

-- Scott Robinette - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Heather Robinette - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Williams Digel - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Brian Barber - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Rhonda Barber - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Leland Skinner - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Barbara Skinner - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Timothy Wright - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Karen Thomas - Cyclone Case Information

-- Gary Maley - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Cheryl Covert - Cyclone: Case Information

-- Julie Taylor - Gifford: Case Information

Click Here to do an updated EHB docket search for Catalyst Energy as permittee.

What’s Next?

            The usual Environmental Hearing Board rules have the parties file a statement by April 15 on any settlement discussions they are having; discovery ends August 13; motions filed by September 12; with a hearing sometime after that.  Read more here.

            With all the individual appeals of the same permit, the Board has, in the past, consolidated the individual appeals into one case for better management of the appeals.

            Another important issue is whether Catalyst Energy, Inc. will hold off on making changes to the well that would allow it to operate as an injection well while the appeal process moves forward.

            As noted below, Catalyst is dealing with an issue of natural gas leaking from the well that DEP discovered in a routine inspection on January 26.  It is also making other site preparations.

            Catalyst Energy, Inc., who will be defending the permit, is being represented by Jean M. Mosites, Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir, PC in Pittsburgh.  Read more here.

            DEP, who will be defending the permit, is being represented by Jennifer McDonough, Paul Strobel and Nicholas Maskrey.  Read more here.

What’s Happening At The Site?

On January 26, 2024, DEP did a routine inspection on conventional well Lot 580-580-1 just permitted by DEP as an oil and gas wastewater injection well operated by Catalyst Energy Inc. in Keating Township, McKean County and found gas was bubbling up from the outside of the casing and it was covered with water.  DEP’s inspection report.

On February 6, 2024, DEP did a follow-up inspection of the Catalyst Energy Inc. Lot 580 580-1 conventional well that was found to be still leaking gas.

DEP’s inspection report says a contractor was on site removing old well equipment and working to deal with the venting of gas which was continuing to leak.

The contractor identified “open hole [no casing] from 3,427 to 2,504 [feet down the well] which is the probable source of gas.”

DEP’s inspection report said after leaving a valve open for several minutes on the well, “no gas was noticed.”  No follow-up actions were recommended in the report.

On February 7, 2024, DEP did another follow-up inspection of Lot 580 580-1 and found no one was on site.  DEP’s inspection report offered no comments on the site inspection.

On February 8, 2024, DEP did another inspection of Lot 580 580-1 and found the access road and well site stable and vegetated.  DEP inspection report.

On February 9, 2024, DEP did another follow-up inspection of Lot 580 580-1 and found equipment onsite trying to “kill” to prevent gas from leaking.

DEP’s inspection report notes the operator pumped 4,200 gallons of water into the well while operations were underway to pull rods and tubing from the well.

On February 12, 2024, DEP did a follow-up inspection at the site.  DEP’s inspection report noted Howard Drilling put another 4,200 gallons of water down the production casingl and did other work.

On February 13, 2024, DEP did a follow-up inspection at the site.  DEP’s inspection report said a new collar and other well head work was completed.

On February 14, 2024, DEP did an inspection to follow-up on a citizen complaint about erosion and sedimentation concerns.

DEP’s inspection report said well service traffic and heavy equipment caused the pad area and road to become muddy and rutted.  No violations were issued.

The inspector said he “walked the perimeter of pad and access road, and found no sediment had made its way off site or into the adjoining wetland.”

The inspector “I made the recommendations of adding filter sock and clean commercial stone along the road into the location. While no sediment has made its way into the wetland, the potential is there. The pad area should be graded and smoothed out and a sufficient amount of mulch applied. Rigs mats should be considered for the pad with any future development or [well] servicing.” 

 No violations were issued.

On February 20, 2024, DEP did a follow-up inspection at the site.  DEP’s inspection report found the wellhead change was complete and the access road was being stoned and other erosion and sediment control measures installed.

On February 22, 2024, DEP did an inspection to follow-up on the earlier citizen complaint.  DEP’s inspection report said erosion and sediment controls were installed, the access road had been stoned and that future inspections will be conducted at the site.

Visit DEP’s Underground Injection Control Wells webpage for documents related to the Catalyst Energy and other injection well permits.

(Photos: The proposed injection well leaking gas, site preparations to deal with the leaking gas and for the future from DEP inspection reports.)

Related Articles - Catalyst Energy:

-- Guest Essay: DEP Ignored Abandoned Wells During Oil & Gas Wastewater Injection Well Permitting Process - By Laurie Barr, Save Our Streams PA  [PaEN] 

-- Marcellus Drilling News: DEP Approves Catalyst Energy Oil & Gas Wastewater Injection Well In McKean County  [Jan. 26 Inspection Found Gas Bubbling From Well]  [PaEN] 

PA Oil & Gas Industry Public Notice Dashboards:

-- PA Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - Feb. 24 to March 1 - 11 More Abandoned Conventional Wells; Field Of Leaking Wells; Voluntary Plugging; No Cleanup Progress In Reno Spill [PaEN]

-- Latest DEP Inspection Shows No Progress By Petro Erie In Cleaning Up The Conventional Oil Well Wastewater Spill That Contaminated The Village Of Reno’s Water Supply In Venango County 6 Months Ago  [PaEN] 

-- DEP: Clay-Like Material Polluting Marsh Creek Is Not Bentonite From Mariner East Pipeline Construction, But Naturally Occuring; Sunoco Cleanup Operation Finished  [PaEN]

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - March 2 [PaEN]

-- 40 Individuals File Appeals, Most Handwritten, Of DEP’s Permit For Catalyst Energy Oil & Gas Wastewater Injection Well In McKean County  [PaEN]

-- EPA Appeals Board Allows Protect PT, Three Rivers Waterkeeper Appeal Of Penneco Oil & Gas Wastewater Injection Well Permit In Allegheny County To Move Forward  [PaEN]

-- Incomplete Application For CNX Midstream Slickville Fracking Wastewater, Natural Gas Pipelines Project In Westmoreland County Withdrawn By DEP  [PaEN] 

-- DEP Posted 64 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In March 2 PA Bulletin  [PaEN]

Related Articles This Week - Gas:

-- DEP: Oil & Gas Regulatory Program Will Be In The Red By Fall; All Sectors Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program No Go; Update On Permitting Reform  [PaEN]

-- PA Utility Law Project March 15 Webinar On Impacts Of LNG Gas Exports On Energy Costs For Pennsylvania Families; LNG Export Capacity To Double, Even With Permit Pause  [PaEN] 

-- Bloomberg: Gov. Shapiro Calls On Biden To Keep Pause On Permits For New LNG Gas Export Facilities Short  [PaEN] 

-- PA Environmental Groups: New PUC Rules, DEP Guidance Victory For Increased Safety In Pipeline Construction And Operation  [PaEN]

-- Chemstream Chemical Maker Agrees To Disclose Information About Its Proprietary Chemicals Used In Natural Gas Drilling  [PaEN]

-- IFO Reports 2023 PA Natural Gas Production Up 1.0% Over 2022, Thanks To Strong Q4 Production; Fewest New Wells Drilled In Last Decade  [PaEN]


-- Spotlight PA: Federal Money Supercharged PA’s Plugging Of Dangerous Conventional Oil & Gas Wells, But Critics Want More Oversight

-- Guest Essay: The Conventional Oil And Gas Industry Isn't Taking Responsibility For Their Wells - By Rep. Greg Vitali, Majority Chair, House Environmental Committee  [PaEN]

-- Q/A With House Environmental Committee Majority Chair Greg Vitali

-- Q/A With Senate Environmental Committee Majority Chair Gene Yaw

-- WESA: Republican US Senate Candidate Says Less Red Tape, More Natural Gas Are Key To PA’s Economic Future

-- Q&A With Michael Huwar, Peoples Gas - ‘Regulatory And Legislative Efforts Must Support The Natural Gas Industry

-- The Allegheny Front - Reid Frazier: Permit Application For CNX Pipeline Project In Westmoreland County Withdrawn, Lacked Wildlife Permits

-- PA Business Report: Chemstream Announces Radical Transparency Fracking Chemical Compliance Initiative

-- TribLive: Murrysville Officials OK Olympus Energy Project For 2 Fracking Water Pipelines, 2 Natural Gas Pipelines In Westmoreland 

-- MCall: Gas Leak Reported In Hellertown, Northampton County Prompting Evacuations  

-- PUC Reminder Of Opportunities To Comment On Proposed 18.7% Peoples Natural Gas Rate Increase 

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: Panel: Washington County State Of The Economy Explores Impacts Of ARCH2 Hydrogen Projects

-- Reuters: European Union Receives Bids For Nearly 3 Times The Volume Of Gas They Need 

-- Bloomberg: Qatar Has Eyes On More Long-Term Deals As It Bets Big On LNG Gas

-- Financial Times: Oil And Gas Industry Profits Triple Under Biden, Even As Industry Decries Him

[Posted: February 28, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner