Cabot Gets a Slap on the Wrist

PA DEP Sends Cabot Oil & Gas a Stern Letter About Dimock

On March 9, 2012, the PA Department of Environmental Protection sent a certified letter to Mr. Phil Stalnaker, Vice President & Manager-North Region Cabot Oil & Gas. Basically, they found the company’s reporting on the 2008 water contamination in Dimock, PA to be significantly lacking. The report, prepared by URS Corporation, a global company based in SanFrancisco CA, has such “deficiencies” that DEP has been unable to review it, and therefore take any real action. Seems to me, DEP and Cabot have been dragging this dance out long enough.

DEP’s Jennifer Means, Environmental Program Manager of the Eastern Oil & Gas District, wrote the letter.  She highlights the Department’s four main complaints:

  • Investigations are reported as alleged releases, and there is no admission that any release occurred.
  • The soil boring and sampling appears to be random depth sampling at 12’ below ground surface borehole, rather than at one foot intervals from below the base depth of each constructed reserve/drill pit.
  • Arsenic was reported as naturally occurring, though background samples were not collected to support this.
  • Because of the time elapsed between alleged releases and surface water sampling, significant detections in the surface water as a result of these discharges would not be expected. “If various metals and semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) are a concern as a result of a discharges, a thorough sampling would include stream sediment sampling.

Means’ letter goes on to s’plain eight specific problems with Cabot’s reporting. You can read the DEP letter pdf here, thanks to tireless reporting by Laura Legere in DEP Highlights ‘Deficiencies’ in Cabot Investigation Report in The Times-Tribune on April 12, 2012.

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