PDC Mountaineer settles EPA allegations in Harrison County

PHILADELPHIA – To resolve construction activities violations at Marcellus Shale gas extraction facilities in northern West Virginia, PDC Mountaineer LLC has entered into a Clean Water Act administrative consent agreement and final order.

According to the settlement announced by the Environmental Protection Agency on Nov. 29, PDCM is required to pay a penalty of $177,500.

The company will also restore and complete mitigation projects as necessary at four sites pursuant to three separate CWA administrative orders incorporated into the CAFO.

Section 404 of the CWA requires a permit be obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers if persons wish to discharge fill material into wetlands or streams. On Dec. 11, 2011, and March 28, the EPA conducted inspections at the D’Annunzio Well Pad in Harrison County and alleged the company failed to apply for or receive a Section 404 permit.

After the inspections, information provided by the company revealed more violations involving two pipelines which will ultimately transport gas extracted by PDCM, the EPA claims.

According to the EPA, the unpermitted activities committed were the filling, relocating and placement of culverts in streams and the filling of wetlands.

Nearly an acre of developing and forested wetlands was affected, the EPA says, and more than 1,500 linear feet of stream are damaged permanently. Temporarily, these violations impact more than 3,000 linear feet of streams, the EPA says.

The affected wetlands and streams ultimately flow into the West Fork River, which is part of the Monongahela River Basin.

Most of the streams involved were headwater streams, the small creeks and streams that are the origin of most rivers.

Headquarters for PDCM are located in Bridgeport. It is a joint venture between PDC and Lime Rock Partners, L.P., a private equity firm. PDCM was formed to explore and develop Marcellus Shale gas deposits.

As part of the settlement, the company did not admit to violating the CWA.

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