Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pa. DEP targets Texas driller for tainted water

Associated Press

"DIMOCK, Pa. — Pennsylvania's top environmental regulator says the state will sue a Houston-based drilling company unless it agrees to pay nearly $12 million to extend a public water line to at least 18 residents whose water wells have been contaminated with methane gas.

John Hanger held a news conference Thursday in the small northeastern Pennsylvania town of Dimock, where tainted water wells are raising concerns about the consequences of gas drilling in the gas-rich Marcellus Shale.

Hanger blamed the methane contamination on faulty natural gas wells drilled by Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. Cabot vigorously denies it is responsible for the pollution. Cabot's CEO issued a scathing public rebuke of Hanger this week, accusing him of "political pandering."

Tensions between Cabot and Dimock residents are escalating. A resident was charged with disorderly conduct last week for an incident with a gun. In response, Cabot has hired armed guards to accompany employees onto residential properties. Hanger pleaded for calm Thursday, saying, "Put the guns away."

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