The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has fined CNX Gas Company LLC (CNX) and CONE Midstream Partners LP (CONE) for not constructing pipelines as approved in their permits with the agency. CNX was directly fined $139,000 and CONE was fined $45,000 for violating the state’s Clean Streams Law and Oil and Gas Act.
During routine inspection in December 2015, inspectors from DEP’s Southwest Oil and Gas District discovered that CNX’s McQuay to Morris Pipeline and the Morris Spur Pipeline were not constructed to the standards contained in their Erosion and Sediment Control General Permits (ESCGP). The inspection showed that the pipelines were constructed outside the exact area specified in the permit (the limit of disturbance) and in one case a gravel road and a pad for a valve were constructed but not identified in the permit application.
During a follow up meeting with DEP, the companies acknowledged that other pipelines were in violation for earthmoving beyond the boundaries contained in the ESCGP permits. Ultimately, 20 pipelines belonging to CNX and 7 owned by CONE Midstream Partners were determined to be in noncompliance. The pipelines are located in Greene, Washington, Indiana and Jefferson counties.
Under the Consent Order and Agreements, CNX and CONE have until November 15, 2016 complete a review of their pipelines. The companies will have 90 business days after DEP approval of their plan to bring those pipelines into compliance. If the reviews reveal additional pipeline projects that are out of compliance, the companies can add those to the Consent Order. The additions will be reviewed by DEP on a case by case basis and additional penalties could be added.
The companies had until July 31, 2016 to either permanently stabilize and restore locations where the ESCGP’s have expired or apply for new ESCGP authorization. They have since been working with DEP towards compliance at these sites.
The companies face additional stipulated penalties for each day if they fail to meet time frames set in the Consent Order and Agreement.
For more information, visit www.dep.pa.gov.