Chesapeake resumes fracking in PA after blow out

Chesapeake Energy has resumed hydrolic fracking operations at its natural gas wells in Pennsylvania following a blow out last month that caused thousands of gallons of fracking fluid to spill into nearby waterways.

The company voluntarily suspended operations at 105 wells after a April 19 malfunction caused the blow out at a well in Leroy Township, Bradford County that leaked toxic fluid over two days.

Chesapeake says 10,000 gallons were spilled. The state Department of Environmental Protection said it took samples of a nearby pond and found an unknown number of amphibians (frogs and tadpoles) had died.

The incident caught the attention of the federal Environmental Protection Agency which took the unusual step of demanding details from the gas company.

In a press release issued Friday - a day after Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley toured the site - Chesapeake said the valve flange malfunction was the result of a "rare technical glitch" and that it had inspected similar wellheads to ensure they were functioning properly.

They said it was the first time since the company's founding in 1989 that a valce flange malfunction of this magnitude occurred.

DEP spokeswoman Katy Gresh told WITFradio that the agency was satisfied with Chesapeake's response to the spill, especially the company's assurances it would use local responders in the event of another accident. The company was criticized for flying in technicians from Texas which delayed efforts to fix the problem.

But the case is not closed as far as the state of Maryland is concerned. The state Attorney General is filling a lawsuit for endangering the environment and its citizens. The creek feeds the Susquehanna River which provides nearly half of the fresh water to the Chesapeake Bay that is consumed by millions of residents and sustains fish and wildlife.

Chesapeake's vice president of operations John Reinhart said in a statement that he regretted the incident and that the company has "taken steps to mitigate the risk of this type of event happening in the future.”

 

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