Because Trout Can't Fight For Themselves
June 16, 2020
The following is a report from PA TU received by our chapter president Scott Brady
FYI on suit filed by PA AG against Cabot Oil and Gas. Press release from AG
AG Shapiro and 43rd Statewide Grand Jury File Criminal Charges Against NEPA
June 15, 2020 | Topic: Criminal
VIDEO ANNOUNCEMENT: https://youtu.be/8BBaqSLTLIg
SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY-Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that the
Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General is formally charging Cabot Oil and
Gas, an unconventional gas, or "fracking," company, for environmental crimes
that occurred in northeastern Pennsylvania. The charges come as part of a
two-year Grand Jury investigation into environmental crimes committed by
unconventional oil and gas companies across the Commonwealth.
"Pennsylvanians understand the careful balance that a strong natural
resource economy requires - and companies who put their own profit above our
laws, our health, and our constitutional right to clean and pure water will
be held accountable," said Attorney General Shapiro in a video released
today. "Fracking companies come from all over the nation, backed by big
investors and big influence, and too often act like they're above the law
with no care for the worker on the job site, the farmer next door, or the
child impacted by their drilling. We're here to hold these companies
accountable, and make sure no matter how powerful or well-connected, the law
applies equally in our Commonwealth."
The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, in conjunction with the 43rd
Statewide Grand Jury, is charging Cabot with 7 counts of Prohibition Against
Discharge of Industrial Wastes, 7 counts of Prohibition Against Other
Pollutions and one count of Unlawful Conduct under the Clean Streams Law.
The Grand Jury's investigation into the contamination of well water in
Dimock, Susquehanna County, revealed that Cabot's fracking activities were
responsible for methane pollution in the local water supply. This
contamination led to several Dimock residents suffering from the
environmental hazards associated with repeated methane exposure, including
Norma Fiorentino's drinking water well exploding in January 2009.
The Grand Jury heard testimony from several residents, one of whom was a
former Cabot employee. This individual had several Cabot gas wells on their
property. The former employee trusted that their former employer had told
them the truth about the possibility of water contamination. However, after
several neighbors noticed that their water was cloudy and full of black
specks, the former employee tested their own water supply: when they held up
a match to a jug of the water that they used to bathe and drink, it caught
Another resident whose testimony was heard by the Grand Jury said that when
Cabot came to town, employees had told them that Cabot could drill wells on
their property without the resident's agreement. The resident recounted
that after agreeing to have gas wells installed on their property, they
began experiencing similar issues with their water. The resident testified
that the family had to stop drinking their methane-contaminated water. In
order to supply the home with this necessity, the resident began making a
regular 14-mile round trip to pick up drinking water.
When the resident contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental
Protections to ask when their water would be clean again, they were told
that the water would be clean again in several years. A decade later, at the
time of their appearance before the grand jury, the issue had remained
"The Grand Jury presentments prove that Cabot took shortcuts that broke the
law, and damaged our environment - harming our water supply and public
health," concluded Attorney General Shapiro. "They put their bottom line
ahead of the health and safety of Pennsylvanians. The Grand Jury repeatedly
found evidence of a company that placed profit over our laws. If it's
against the law, and it hurts Pennsylvanians, we're here to stop it - no
matter how powerful or well-connected you are," said AG Shapiro.
"We are in the first stages of a long process to hold the well-connected
accountable and meet the promise of our constitution to protect our
environment for generations to come.
We must protect Pennsylvanians, it is what we are dedicated to every day.
This work will not stop. Our waters, air, and resources will be protected
for this generation and the next to come."