Wednesday, June 9, 2010

DEP Orders Clearfield County Well Contractor to Halt Activities Statewide as Part of Ongoing Investigation

Dept. of Environmental Protection

Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120


Neil Weaver, Department of Environmental Protection

C.C. Forbes Ordered to Produce Records, Witness Names

HARRISBURG -- The Department of Environmental Protection today ordered C.C. Forbes, of Washington, PA, to suspend all post-hydraulic fracturing activities on Marcellus Shale wells in the state immediately as it continues its investigation into a June 3 well blowout in Clearfield County.

DEP Secretary John Hanger said EOG Resources—the company that owned the well in Lawrence Township—hired C.C. Forbes as a contractor to provide post-hydrofracturing services at the site.

Hanger said DEP’s order also requires C.C. Forbes to provide site and equipment records specific to the well, including any written, photographic and video documentation.

The company must also furnish the names of its employees who were working at the site or have knowledge of the equipment used there. The secretary said those employees must be made available to the department for questioning.

“We need to fully investigate the equipment used by this company to ensure that other sites in Pennsylvania are not in danger of experiencing similar blowouts that could place the public or our environment at risk,” said Hanger. “This was a serious incident that could have resulted in the loss of life or significant damage to our natural resources and the department is prepared to use all means necessary to find the cause of the blowout.

“It is imperative that C.C. Forbes provide all records related to the equipment it used, as well as access to its employees that were present when the incident occurred.”

The order requires C.C. Forbes to cease its operations until receiving DEP’s written consent to resume.

The Punxsutawney Hunting Club 36H well, owned by EOG Resources Inc., began leaking Thursday evening, June 3, when employees at the site lost control of it while preparing to extract gas after fracking the shale. As a result, natural gas and flowback frac fluid was released uncontrollably onto the ground and 75 feet into the air. The well was capped at around noon on June 4.

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