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Agency Cites Lack of Drilling Contingency Plans


Dear Editor:

The Chesapeake Energy spill in Bradford County shows that the industry does not have adequate contingency plans. This is not the first time a spill of this magnitude has happened in Pennsylvania. Last June, EOG Resources had a blowout in Clearfield County, which caused an estimated 35,000 gallons of frack fluid and other contaminants to be discharged. Again, on Jan. 16, 2011, Talisman Energy had a blowout during fracking operations in a state forest, which led to spilled frack fluid running into streams. This is the third blowout within a year.

Sierra Club calls on state Department of Environmental Protection to revise its permit system from top to bottom. It is clear that the contingency plans for spills from gas wells are totally inadequate. Contaminant ponds at gas drilling sites are substantially undersized. Spill containment measures in other industries collect all liquids spilled from a site, even a large petroleum storage tank. Secondary contaminant, if the primary system fails, is required as well at industrial sites.

Given the serious threat to our drinking water, DEP should not let the drillers make their own rules about spill prevention.

Jeff Schmidt, Director

Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter

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