The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has reached an agreement with Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. of Delaware for the company to pay a $99,000 civil penalty for air quality violations related to equipment at natural gas wells throughout Susquehanna County. The violations include excess emission rates of natural gas, and failing to submit operational and compliance reports in a timely manner.
“DEP enforces regulations to ensure that there are not harmful impacts to public health and the environment,” said Mike Bedrin, director of DEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilkes-Barre. “DEP will hold any operators that violate those regulations accountable.”
Cabot has acknowledged these violations and taken necessary corrective measures to come into compliance.
Since 2013, Cabot had excess emissions of natural gas from 267 pneumatic controllers at various well sites. Pneumatic controllers are automated instruments used for maintaining conditions such as liquid levels, pressure, and temperature. Those levels exceeded 6 cubic feet per hour of natural gas, a level above the Environmental Protections Agency’s national standards.
Additionally, Cabot failed to submit complete compliance demonstration reports for 20 gas wells. The compliance demonstration reports are used to determine whether the wells are exempt from permitting requirements.
The lack of reporting by Cabot and the excessive emissions are a violation of the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act and Federal New Source Performance Standards.
The civil penalty will be paid to the department’s Clean Air Fund, which is used to fund air quality programs throughout the commonwealth.