BULGER, Pa. — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Wednesday said he was charging two natural gas companies with violating the Clean Streams Law in connection with drilling fluid going into a tributary in Washington County while building a gas transmission line.
The charges against Natural Fuel Gas Supply Corp., a division of National Fuel Gas, (NYSE: NFG) and Southeast Directional Drilling stem from a grand jury investigation into natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania since the Marcellus Shale boom. National Fuel Gas Supply Corp. was charged with two counts of prohibition against other pollutions and one count of unlawful conduct, all under the state’s Clean Streams Law. Southeast Directional Drilling, a subcontractor of National Fuel Gas, was charged with two counts of prohibition of discharge of industrial waste, two counts of prohibition against other pollutions and a count of unlawful conduct, all under the Clean Streams Law.
The charges stem from the pollution of groundwater and an unnamed tributary to St. Patrick’s Run off Route 22 in Bulger, Washington County, during the replacement of portions of a natural gas transmission pipeline operated by National Fuel. Southeast Directional Drilling, which is based in Casa Grande, Arizona, was tapped as a subcontractor to drill an underground portion of the pipeline beginning June 12, 2015. There had been inadvertent returns of drilling fluids from the site and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection was called in; DEP fined National Fuel $5,741 in 2017 for the impact on the stream and ordered visible drilling mud to be cleaned up from the stream.