Dec 19 U.S. federal regulators on Thursday said
oil and gas company Chesapeake Energy Corp will pay a
civil penalty of $3.2 million to settle Clean Water Act
violations in West Virginia where it drills in the Marcellus
Chesapeake will also pay an estimated $6.5 million to
restore streams and wetlands. The U.S. oil and gas company
allegedly dumped rocks, sand and dirt into wetlands while
building drill sites and roads, according to the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of
Companies using hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling
construct drilling pads for rigs by clearing land that is then
covered by crushed rock. Roads also need to be built to
accommodate truck traffic to and from drilling sites.
The $3.2 million penalty, one of the largest of its kind
ever levied by the federal government, is for violations of the
Clean Water Act (CWA), which prohibits the filling or damming of
wetlands, rivers, streams, and other U.S. waters without a
federal permit, the regulators said.
"Chesapeake Appalachia LLC has reached a key milestone in
the settlement process to resolve federal and state claims
relating to surface construction activities that occurred in
West Virginia prior to November 2010," the company said in a
The settlement, which required court approval, also resolves
alleged violations of state law brought by West Virginia's
Department of Environmental Protection.
In December 2012, the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma company
pleaded guilty to three violations of the Clean Water Act
related to natural gas drilling in Wetzel County, at one of the
sites subject to this latest settlement.
Chesapeake was sentenced to pay a $600,000 penalty to the
federal government for discharging crushed stone and gravel into
Blake Fork, a local stream, to create a roadway to improve
access to a drilling site. The company has already fully
restored the damage done to the site.