Drilling Rig Pollutes Well Water in Susquehanna County

Drinking water to at least three (3) properties in Lenox Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania suffered methane gas pollution due to faulty drilling procedures by Cabot Natural Gas according to DEP officials. The water pollution violations occurred in September, 2011. DEP failed to post the violations as required by law. DEP officials noted failure to post was an “oversight”. Meanwhile, Cabot is supplying fresh water to the affected properties and is trying to correct the problems. Water contamination at or near natural gas drilling rig sites has been a primary issue with environmental groups overseeing natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale drilling regions of Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.

The thirteen (13) personal injury lawyers at Dougherty Leventhal Price LLP–DLP–PENNSYLVANIA TRUCK ACCIDENT, DRILLING RIG ACCIDENT AND CATASTROPHIC INJURY LAWYERS–continue to follow this and other natural gas drilling issues in Tioga, Susquehanna, Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna, and Wyoming Counties Pennsylvania.

Fracking Waste Liquid Disposal Raises Concerns

The Philadelphia Inquirer today reports on issues outstanding over disposal of fracking waste water/liquids following earthquakes at a waste disposal deep well site near Youngstown Ohio. The fracking drilling process in the Marcellus shale region of Pennsylvania creates significant liquid waste containing many pollutants. Originally processed and released into Pennsylvania streams and rivers, the waste is now either recycled–the preferred method according to gas industry leaders—or trucked to deep well disposal sites mostly in Ohio. Environmental critics are citing the Youngstown earthquakes as another example of unregulated drilling and disposal of hazardous waste. Industry insiders note that there are hundreds of deep well disposal sites, and the Youngstown site earthquakes are unusual events and not the norm.

The thirteen (13) lawyers at Dougherty Leventhal Price LLP-DLP–PENNSYLVANIA CATASTROPHIC ACCIDENT/INJURY LAWYERS–continue to follow this and other isuues affecting the Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling regions of Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania. DLP has been hired recently to handle gas truck accidents, quarry explosion accident,, fracking pump explosion accident and auto/gas truck accidents in Tioga, Susquehanna, Wyoming and Bradford Counties, Pennsylvania.

DLP Hired to Investigate Tioga County Pumping Explosion Case

Attorneys Joe Price and John Finnerty of Dougherty Leventhal Price LLP—DLP; PENNSYLVANIA CATASTROPHIC INJURY LAWYERS—have been hired to investigate a fracking pumper explosion at a natural gas drill rig site in Tioga County. The explosion resulted in serious injuries to DLP’s client. The investigation into what caused the explosion is currently ongoing.

Work Injury Compensation and Third Party Liability

With the ever-growing number of employees working in the Marcellus Shale gas drilling field comes the increasing risk of workers being injured on the job. Here at Dougherty, Leventhal & Price, we have the experience to assist you in the litigation of your workers compensation injury claim should you be injured on the job. A work injury can often be the result of the negligence of a third party. In such situations, the injured worker, in addition to having a claim against his employer under the Workers Compenastion Act, may also have a civil liability claim against the negligent third party whose action caused or contributed to the injury. The lawyers at DLP will carefully review your case to insure that all of your rights are properly protected and that you are fairly compensated for your injuries.

DLP Files Gas Company Truck Accident Death Case In Federal Court

35mph sign Montrose, PA Mack Truck Accident
The law team at Dougherty, Leventhal and Price, LLP has filed a Federal Lawsuit this week against a drilling company and its’ driver who caused a violent accident causing multiple injuries and a fatality.  A Mack Truck loaded with approximately 3,000 gallons of mud was overweight and driving at speeds greater than posted. As a result, it failed to stop at a stop sign. The driver turned into an oncoming lane and violently impacted a Subaru legacy carrying two passengers seriously injuring one and killing the other.

The entire complaint may be viewed here. (PDF)


Federal judge denies Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. to dismiss a case brought by Dimock Twp. residents

Pennsylvania Gas Drilling Injury LawyersA federal judge has denied a motion by Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation to dismiss a case brought by Dimock Township residents two years ago. The residents claim their water, health, and property was damaged by the Pennsylvania natural gas driller. Cabot motioned to have a federal judge throw out the case brought by over 60 residents of the Susquehanna County township. The gas company has argued that the families failed to establish a legal basis for the law suit against them.

Last month, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said Cabot could stop delivery of clean water by November 30. This was outlined in a December 2010 settlement between the DEP and Cabot.

The settlement also required that:

  • Cabot offer to install methane-removal systems
  • Fund escrow accounts with twice the tax-assessed value of each of the 19 affected Susquehanna County homes.

However, this settlement did not require the company to restore the water to its pre-drilling quality. Now Dimock Township residents are making last-minute push to prolong the water deliveries from Cabot. In a recent petition for an injunction, the families state the department’s settlement terms ignored state law, which requires drillers to permanently restore or replace water supplies contaminated by their operations. Cabot is denying contamination was caused by their drilling activities. Their argument is that the appeal came too late from the Dimock residents. Cabot is also claiming their well water is safe to drink and even if it were not, the Dimock residents could get their own fresh water delivered “at modest cost” or collect it from a local well in Montrose.

Filed almost two years ago in November of 2009, the Susquehanna County residents of Dimock, Pennsylvania claimed Cabot Oil and Gas’s drilling activities introduced methane and other toxins into their properties and drinking water, causing illness, property damage, fear of future sickness and emotional distress. Pennsylvania courts have not directly addressed whether gas drilling is an “abnormally dangerous” activity that fits the strict liability standard.

DLP: Pennsylvania Gas Drilling Accident Lawyers: Debate Over Gas Drilling Hits New York

With the moratorium on natural gas drilling in New York apparently about to end, the debate over gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing is in full swing.  Reports today in the New York Times indicate that folks in Cooperstown, New York are facing off over permitting gas drilling rigs in the community.  The New York issues mirror those still ongoing in Pennsylvania.  The thirteen (13) lawyers at DLP: PENNSYLVANIA TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYERS AND MARCELLUS SHALE GAS DRILLING RIG INJURY/ACCIDENT LAWYERS, continue to follow this and other Marcellus shale gas drilling issues in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.

Webinar to focus on Penn State study of water wells near Marcellus drilling sites

Bryan Swistock, Penn State Extension Water Resources will discuss the research just completed on water well quality near Marcellus gas drilling sites.

The upcoming Penn State Extension online seminar dedicated to emerging water resources issues across the state will  focus on results from a recent study of water well quality near Marcellus gas drilling sites

The live webinar will take place from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1. A recorded version will be available for those who cannot log in for the live offering.

“There are about 1 million private water wells across Pennsylvania, and the possible effect of Marcellus drilling on water quality in these rural drinking water supplies has been a concern of some homeowners,” said study leader Bryan Swistock, senior extension associate in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

The study was conducted from February 2010 to July 2011 by a team of researchers and county-based extension educators in the college. The research was funded by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, which is an agency of the state Legislature, and the Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center at Penn State.

“This is the first project to provide an unbiased and large-scale study of water quality in private water wells used to supply drinking water to rural homes and farms both before and after the drilling of Marcellus gas wells nearby,” said Swistock.

The study included an intensive phase focusing on 48 water wells within about 2,500 feet of a Marcellus well site and a broader phase that included 185 water wells within about a mile of a Marcellus well. Water wells were tested for potential pollutants associated with hydraulic fracturing or site disturbance, and a subset included testing for dissolved methane.

The study also identified future research directions and critical education needs for owners of private water wells. “Future research should look at a broader number of water contaminants over a longer period of time,” Swistock said. “More detailed and longer-term studies are critical to ensuring that Pennsylvanians’ private water supplies are protected.”

Participants must pre-register for the webinars, but only one registration is required for the entire series. To register, visit http://extension.psu.edu/water/webinar-series/schedule online. Once participants have pre-registered, they may visit a separate link on this website to attend the live webinar on the day of the presentation.

Penn State Extension Water Webinars are held routinely from November through May and all run from noon to 1 p.m. After the Nov. 1 webinar, the next in the series will be Nov. 21, when James Clark, extension educator based in McKean County, will present “The Triple Divide Watershed Coalition — Public Water Supplies Teaming to Protect Water Resources.”


For more information, contact Bryan Swistock at (814) 863-0194, or by e-mail at brs@psu.edu.


Posted at PSU.edu


Business webinars present a better look at understanding opportunities related to Marcellus gas

The fourth in this five-part program to help local businesses understand and take advantage of opportunities arising from the development of the Marcellus Shale will be held Monday, October 24th

This season’s  web-based seminars aimed at helping local businesses prosper from natural-gas drilling and development, presented by Penn State Extension’s Marcellus Educational Consortium, are going well.

“Your Business and Marcellus Shale: Moving Forward 2011″ will broadcast its fourth session, ‘The Process:  How Do You Sell Into Industry?’ on Monday, October 24th at 9:00 AM to help local businesses understand and take advantage of the opportunity arising from development of Marcellus Shale.

“Participants will expand their knowledge of the opportunities that exist in the market as well as how to make connections and plan for doing business in this growing industry,” said Jonathan Laughner, extension educator in Beaver County who is moderating the every two-weeks sessions. Each webinar will feature speakers who are experts in the field.

“Our webinar speakers will include natural-gas industry representatives, local business people successfully responding to opportunities, financial specialists and business-development representatives,” Laughner said. “Anyone interested in learning more about this aspect of the industry is welcome to attend.”

The remaining sessions will be held from 9:00  to 10:15 AM on:

–Oct. 24 “The Process: How Do You Sell Into Industry?”

–Nov. 8. “The Work Plan: Financial and Planning Suggestions”

This webinar series is for educational purposes only, Laughner cautioned. No part of the presentations is to be considered legal advice. “Please consult with your attorney before signing any legal document,” he said. “Where trade and/or company names appear, no discrimination is intended, and no endorsement by Penn State Cooperative Extension is implied.”

The website for the webinars is https://meeting.psu.edu/marcellusbiz. A Friends of Penn State account is required for webinar access. Create one at https://fps.psu.edu.

For more information, contact Carol Loveland, Extension energy development and special projects coordinator in Lycoming County, at (570) 433-3040 or by e-mail at cal24@psu.edu.


Posted at PSU.edu


Multi-Well Pads in the Marcellus Shale

The ability of energy developers to drill multiple natural gas wells from a single location (or “pad”) has been touted as a major technological breakthrough driving natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. The utilization of so-called “multi-well pads” also has large environmental and socio-economic implications, as the landscape disruption of as many as 12 or more natural gas wells and associated pipeline infrastructure can be concentrated in a single location. Furthermore, the total amount of industrial activity can be compressed as these wells can be drilled in rapid-succession.

A 2010 Nature Conservancy report by Nels Johnson estimated that – if current development trends continue through 2030 –the disruption of 10,000 development locations in Pennsylvania critical forest habitat could be eliminated by drilling an average of 10 wells-per-pad compared to an average of 4 wells-per-pad.

Factors Influencing Multi-well Pad Development
The ability of energy developers to drill large numbers of wells on a single pad requires that they have large contiguous lease holdings, a capital outlay that will support the expense of a prolonged drilling and completion timeline, and, the ability to overcome on-the-ground logistical challenges, according to a 2011 report led by Robert Kuntz. If confronted with enough of these constraints, energy companies may instead find it easier to develop an array of single or small-number multi-well pads. Market pressures can also incentivize the development of singular wells in order to quickly secure long-term rights to the mineral acreage (an industry practice termed “hold by production”). Conversely, factors like difficult terrain or leases that do not allow surface occupancy can discourage the development of single well pads and instead encourage the development of multi-well locations.

Has the number of wells per pad changed?
Despite the development of over 3,000 Marcellus Shale wells in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since 2006, this is the first analysis of the distribution of single-well vs. multi-well pads in Pennsylvania. By the end of 2007, during the early exploration of the Marcellus Shale, each of the 18 wells drilled in Pennsylvania was developed on its own well pad. In 2008, 18% of the 165 wells drilled were developed on new multi-well pads or previously constructed well pads. In 2009, 56% of the 703 wells were drilled on multi-well pads. By 2010, multi-well development comprised 77% of the 1,373 Marcellus wells drilled. As of August 10, 2011, 83% of the Marcellus wells drilled were located on a multi-well pad.

How Many Wells Per Pad?
While multi-well pads have increased over the past five years, the overall ratio of wells-per-pad remains low. Since 2006, over 1,553 Marcellus well pads have been developed to support 3,279 Marcellus wells in Pennsylvania indicating a well-to-pad average of 2.11. The data show that this ratio is increasing: in 2009 the average was 1.53 wells per pad, and in 2010 the average was 2.15.

When well pad development in Pennsylvania State Forest and Allegheny National Forest is compared to privately held lands, roughly 96 well pads and 319 wells have been developed on state or national forest leases, a ratio of 3.32 wells per pad, compared to 1,457 well pads and 2,960 wells developed outside the state and national forest lands, or a ratio of 2.03. It is unknown from this preliminary analysis whether the discrepancy is due to regulatory incentives, pipeline availability, lease construction, or differences in the terrain.

The Marcellus Shale development picture reveals a strong trend toward multi-well pad drilling with just over 83% of all wells drilled in 2011 appearing on a multi-well pad. Also, about 90% of all drilling appears to be occurring outside state and national forest leases. However, the trend toward multi-well pads is tempered by the reality that the number of wells per well pad is still hovering between two and three state-wide. While it is technically feasible to drill 12 wells or more per pad, thus far the vast majority of well pads contain 1, 2, or 3 wells.

A common perception in Pennsylvania is that a single well may be initially drilled to hold a drilling block by production and as drilling matures a rig may return to the pad to drill additional wells. However, after four years of significant development, once a drilling rig moves on to another location, there appears to be a small probability that it will return to drill additional wells on the same pad in the near future. As of December 31, 2010, only 13% of single well pads have seen a drilling rig brought back to drill additional wells. For example, in 2009 the average number of wells drilled on pads developed that year was 1.53, and by mid 2011 the average on those same pads had increased to 1.70. Thus far, the majority of multi-wells pads that exist in Pennsylvania were initially developed that way, and most have contained only a small number of wells.

Energy companies indicate that they are still in the early stages of development of one of the largest gas fields in the world – covering as much as 95,000 square miles – so it is possible they will eventually shift their strategy toward drilling additional wells on existing pads. In fact, further analysis suggests that in most cases operators are not drilling single wells instead of multi-well pads, as only about 6% of pads with 1, 2, or 3 wells were drilled within 1500 of feet of another well pad. The lack of nearby wells may indicate the early stages of a longer term infill strategy.

The practice of drilling multiple wells on a single location holds great benefit for reducing ecological and other impacts from development of the Marcellus Shale, but the evidence of this practice being performed thus far in Pennsylvania remains mixed. Current evidence of infill on previously constructed well pads and the overall number of wells per pad remains low. However, Marcellus development is still in its early stages in Pennsylvania and the number of multi-well pads is increasing.

Excerpted  from the Clinton County Natural Gas Task Force (www.clintoncountypa.com ) weekly columns

This article was excerpted by the author (Ladlee) from the Cornell University Community and Regional Development Institute Research and Policy Brief Series Issue Number 43/September 2011. A complete copy of the policy brief can be downloaded at:http://devsoc.cals.cornell.edu/cals/devsoc/outreach/cardi/publications
Jim Ladlee serves as Director for Penn State Extension in Clinton County and Associate Director for the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, and Director of Special Initiatives for the Marcellus Shale Education and Training Center.
Jeffrey Jacquet is a PhD Candidate at Cornell University and author of numerous Marcellus Shale Policy and Workforce Briefs.


Posted at PSU.edu