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Pennsylvania Issues $1M Fine to Chesapeake (May 17, 2011)

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday fined Chesapeake Energy just over $1 million for natural gas drilling violations, which officials say is the single largest fine for an oil or gas operator in the state.

Two Consent Orders and Agreements (COA) indicate the Oklahoma City-based oil and natural gas producer will pay $900,000 for contaminating the water supplies in Bradford County in the northern part of the state where Chesapeake has been drilling the Marcellus Shale formation.

An investigation throughout 2010 by the Pennsylvania DEP determined natural gas migrated into the groundwater and contaminated the water supply of 16 families.

A separate COA shows Chesapeake will pay $188,000 for a series of condensate separator tank fires that injured three workers February 23.

Chesapeake confirms that it is agreeing to pay the fines and says it has improved its well-construction practices, but it's not assuming blame for the water well contamination.

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Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.



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