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Pennsylvania DEP finds mismanagement in February natural gas fire

April 7, 2011

Earlier this year, three workers were hospitalized in a fire that broke out at a Marcellus Shale natural gas site near the town of Avella in Washington County PA.  The State Department of Environmental Protection has finalized an investigation ruling that mismanagement of volatile natural gas byproducts sparked that fire.

KDKA CBS NewsChopper 2 flew over the scene of the large fire in Avella, Washington County, PA. (Photo Credit: KDKA)

“DEP spokeswoman Katy Gresh said Chesapeake Energy Corp., which owns the drill site in Independence near the village of Avella where the fire occurred Feb. 23, failed to follow industry practices for managing byproducts known as condensate.”

“In this case, Chesapeake did not follow those practices,” she said. “We are continuing to evaluate the information that we have with regard to any potential enforcement action.”

“State legislators and environmentalists criticized DEP for not releasing the police report, saying the public should be informed of all findings in incidents that could affect public health and safety”

“To think the DEP would refuse to release that report to us is unacceptable,” said state Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil. “The public has a right to know what it says.”

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