Company Fined $4.15 Million for Fracking

FORT WORTH (CN) – Range Resources will pay $4.15 million for environmental violations at six of its drilling and fracking wastewater impoundments in the Marcellus Shale.
     The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said the fine against the Fort Worth-based company is the largest ever against an oil and gas operator in the state’s shale drilling era.
     Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves drilling and injecting pressurized fluid underground to break shale rocks and release natural gas. Impoundment ponds are used to contain the millions of gallons of fluid and recycled drilling wastewater that back out of each well.
     Pennsylvania said the environmental violations from 2009 to 2014 included releases of contaminants, such as leaking flowback that affected soil and groundwater.
     Under the consent order, Range Resources will close three impoundments immediately and close two more by April 2015. It will test soil and groundwater at each of the closed impoundments and remediate them if contamination is found.
     It will also redesign and rebuild the liner systems at two other impoundments to meet new standards under development by the state.
     Range Resources did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
     It told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the leaks have had no impact on drinking water.

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