ICYMI: Sen. Casey implicates Marcellus wells in McKean Co., incident – facts tell a different story

On March 28, 2011, U.S. Senator Robert Casey (D-Pa.) wrote a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu requesting federal assistance in the investigation of gas migration issues in McKean County, Pa. Although Sen. Casey acknowledged at that time that very little was known about the cause of those issues, that lack of evidence didn’t stop the senator from suggesting that “extensive new deep drilling activities” were at least partially to blame for the incidents in the area.

Well, less than two weeks after Sen. Casey wrote his letter to federal regulators, he got an answer to the question he was asking – but not from the agency he wrote to, and not necessarily the one he was hoping to get. In a press release issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) last week, the agency reports that its investigation into gas-migration issues in McKean County turned up plenty of evidence suggesting that those issues were caused by three abandoned wells – not a single one of them having a single thing to do with the Marcellus.  According to DEP, one of these abandoned wells was drilled in 1881; the other two nearly 90 years ago.

From DEP’s April 8, 2011 Press Release:

  • “The Department of Environmental Protection has ordered a resident of Bradford Township, McKean County, to plug three abandoned non-Marcellus wells…”
  • “On April 1, DEP issued a notice of violation to George for his failure to plug the abandoned wells. Rogers 9 was drilled in 1881 and the other two abandoned wells were drilled nearly 90 years ago.”
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