Chesapeake Energy Asks EPA for Extension on Disclosing Fracking Information, Resumes Fracking in PAMay 17th, 2011 | By Mark | Category: Fracking, Lead Articles
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Chesapeake Energy has asked the federal Environmental Protection Agency for more time to provide information about the explosion that sent toxic fracking fluid coursing over Pennsylvania farmland a few weeks ago, yet the company has resumed hydraulic fracturing operations at the site, assuring regulators and residents alike that the process is harmless.
Chesapeake voluntarily suspended natural gas fracking operations in the state after an explosion blew out a well head on April 19, sending thousands of gallons of toxic fracking fluid flooding over farmland and into a nearby creek.
In the days after the incident, the EPA directed Chesapeake to disclose data about the incident by May 9, including:
- Details of the incident, including timelines, sources of discharge and the extent of the environmental impact.
- Substances placed into or returned to the surface from the wells at the site.
- Whether radiological compounds are or were present in the fluids or sediment generated as part of the well development.
- Results of any sampling data.
- Effects on drinking water supplies.
- All permits or water quality standards that may have been violated.
- Any other leaks, spills or releases that have occurred at wells on the drilling site.
- The history of drilling operations at the well.
- Each chemical brought to the site, including type and quantities and storage, management and handling practices.
- Any temporary wastewater storage impoundments on the site.
- Processing of wastewater from wells on the site.
Instead of providing the information, however, Chesapeake asked the EPA for an extension of the May 9 deadline, and for permission to submit the information piecemeal.
“In its request for an extension on May 9, Chesapeak Energy proposed a rolling schedule for the submission of information in which the last of the information was to be submitted by June 27,” EPA Press Officer Roy Seneca told naturalgaswatch.org. “EPA is currently considering the request for an extension.”
Despite the inability to provide the information requested by the EPA, Chesapeake has resumed fracking operations in Pennsylvania, and Chesapeake officials have assured concerned citizens that their operation is safe.
“An equipment failure of this type is extremely rare in the industry and is the first valve flange failure of this magnitude in more than 15,000 wells Chesapeake has completed since its founding in 1989,” a statement from Chesapeake Energy states. “We are confident that this was an isolated incident and that all wellhead equipment and connections are fully functional and structurally sound.”
A recent study by researchers at Duke University linked fracking to methane contamination in drinking water in areas where hydraulic fracturing is taking place.