Rice Energy Subsidiaries Assessed Over $3.5 Million in Penalties for Well Pad and Pipeline Violations

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), December 8, 2016

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) assessed civil penalties to Rice Energy subsidiaries for multiple violations of environmental laws at 10 well sites and 6 pipeline locations, with a total fine of over $3.5 million.

DEP and Rice Energy signed seven separate enforcement documents addressing the violations that occurred at sites in Washington and Greene Counties. The violations span several years and include failing to obtain required permits, failing to maintain erosion and sedimentation controls, releasing wastewater to the ground and waters of the Commonwealth, and failing to have a pre-operational inspection of a well site by DEP prior to drilling, among others.

Minimizing the impacts that drilling activity has on Pennsylvania waterways is a key part of responsible development,” said DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “While many of these violations have been corrected and remediated, they should have not happened in the first place. DEP will continue to hold responsible companies that act without permits and violate the rules and regulations of the Commonwealth.

The fines include:

  • $1,633,550 for leaks from an unpermitted wastewater impoundment and insufficient erosion and sediment controls, failure to stabilize the well site, and other violations at two well sites in Jackson and Center Townships, Greene County. 
  • $1,314,275 for failure to obtain a permit before earthmoving activities, failure to obtain a pre-operational inspection prior to drilling, and multiple erosion and sediment control violations in Washington and Greene counties. 
  • $437,100 for erosion and sediment control violations and a well casing violation at sites in Washington and Greene counties. 
  • $97,852 for failing to obtain a permit for a culvert, illegally discharging into a waterway, and erosion and sediment control violations at sites in Washington and Greene counties.
  • $14,850 for slope failure and sediment discharge outside of the permitted limit of disturbance at sites in Greene County.
  • $11,750 for violations associated with the company’s failure to maintain erosion and sedimentation controls in Washington County.
  • $35,075 for well site stabilization, casing, and road construction violations in Greene County.

Subsidiaries that are part of the enforcement actions are Rice Drilling B LLC, Rice Poseidon Midstream LLC, and Rice Midstream Holdings LLC. Sites formerly owned by Alpha Shale Resources, LP, now owned and operated by Rice, are also included.

Rice Energy has paid all civil penalties imposed by DEP and has either corrected or is under an enforceable schedule to correct the violations at its sites. 

Click here to read the full article from Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

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