Reflections on the Lessons of  ‘Amity and Prosperity’

Q&A: Eliza Griswold Reflects on the Lessons of  ‘Amity and Prosperity,’ Her Deep Dive Into Fracking in Southwest Pennsylvania

Inside Climate News published that story by David Schribman with that same headline on August 21, 2022. While Shribman’s story focused on updates from the author of the book, an equally compelling story is that of an earlier story and lawsuit, argued on many of the same details, in front of Judge Thomas W. Renwand, Chief Judge of Pennsylvania’s Environmental Quality Board (EQB) in Pittsburgh, PA.

Photo: Yeager drilling pad and 13.5 million gallon impoundment dam perched high above the Voyles and Haney farms. Near the bottom of their McAdams Road was the Kiskadden residence.

From an October 16, 2015 story ‘New information surfaces in water well contamination complaint‘ by Don Hopey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“Range Resources used chemical and low-grade radioactive isotope “tracers” to chart and analyze the reach of hydraulic fracturing done on a gas well in Amwell in 2009. But, according to a motion filed Wednesday in Commonwealth Court by attorneys for Loren “Buzz” Kiskadden, the gas drilling company didn’t tell nearby property owners in Washington County who were dealing with contaminated water wells. The tracer information came from sworn depositions… according to the filing, antimony — one of three solid tracers used at the Yeager well by Protechnics — another Range subcontractor, was also found at four times the federal maximum contaminant level for drinking water in Mr. Kiskadden’s well.”

New information surfaces in water well contamination complaint by Don Hopey | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

During those EQB court hearings, it was a classic “David vs Goliath” story of Kendra and John M. Smith, of the Smith-Butz law firm in Canonsburg, PA (‘David’) representing Mr. Kiskadden, against larger Pittsburgh law firm teams and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (‘Goliath’). Somehow, in this case, Goliath won.

While facts presented to the court focused on the leaky drill cuttings pit on the Yeager well pad, the massive 13.5 million gallon earthen impoundment, right next to the drilling pad, created additional questions as to whether one, or both, had contaminated ground water and the aquifer feeding the Kiskadden water well.

“Range Resources will pay a $4.15 million penalty to settle violations related to six Marcellus Shale gas drilling and fracking wastewater impoundments in Washington County that contaminated soil and groundwater, state officials said. The consent order said Range violated state permit requirements by failing to submit building plans to the DEP for six of the impoundments, and failed to contain spills of recycled water and fracking fluids at six impoundments. At the Yeager impoundment, Range failed to contain fracking and other fluids in February 2013 and in April and May 2014.”

by Don Hopey | Range Resources to pay $4.15M penalty | September 18, 2014

Below are two of the key documents from that EHB case:

MORE: Range Resources to pay $4.15M penalty

$3 Million Settlement Revealed In High-Profile Fracking Case

Range Resources pleads no contest to environmental crimes at southwest Pa. well sites

Range Resources’ John Day impoundment leak bigger than first thought

Pennsylvania’s Impact Fee is ‘Chump Change’

Natural gas development transforms Pennsylvania farmland

Pennsylvania’s ‘Giveaway’ Tax Rate for Gas Processors

AIR POLLUTION: Welling Compressor Station in Washington County, PA

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