The pressure is building in Dimock, Pennsylvania, where the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and drilling company Cabot Oil and Gas are squaring off over a proposal to extend a municipal water line seven miles to serve roughly 14 families. The project is estimated to cost about $11 million, and DEP Secretary John Hanger insists Cabot must foot the bill.
Earlier this week, Cabot released a letter detailing their frustrations with DEP as they attempted to address the contamination in local drinking wells with more cost-effective solutions. Cabot’s complaints emphasize the non-responsiveness of DEP and its decision to ignore scientific evidence showing that Cabot may not be responsible.
The President and CEO of Cabot, Dan Dinges, cites one instance where the DEP never approved the preliminary plans required of Cabot. The delay caused the company to miss a compliance deadline, inviting negative media attention. PA Independent has more details on the complaints made by Cabot.
Secretary Hanger is not backing down, saying the state has decided to “take decisive action now.”
George Stark, spokesman for Cabot, claims, “We have those who are not taking legal action against us and their water has been restored.” Stark also added many plaintiffs in the lawsuit have refused the whole-house water treatment systems offered by Cabot.
Current and potential natural gas employers will be watching closely to see how things unfold. Meanwhile, the Marcellus Coalition released a list of industry-wide principles called the Commitment to the Community to reinforce their dedication to responsible development of the Marcellus Shale.