Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania's Attorney General, brought criminal charges against XTO Energy, Inc., a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, for allegedly discharging 50,000 gallons of toxic waste water from the Marquardt Marcellus Shale well in Lycoming County. Kane alleged in the complaint that as much as 57,000 gallons of waste water at the Marquardt site spilled and polluted a tributary of Sugar Run. A grand jury recommended the criminal charges against XTO after hearing testimony and viewing evidence from a statewide investigation. The charges against XTO include five counts of unlawful conduct under Pennsylvania's Clean Streams Law and three counts of unlawful conduct under the Solid Waste Management Act.
XTO responded by calling the criminal charges "unprecedented," "unwarranted, and legally baseless." XTO stated that the incident did not cause any "significant or lasting environmental harm" and that it plans to challenge the criminal charges. XTO claims that the state investigation was not warranted because the company already remediated the site and came to an agreement with the EPA, where it paid civil penalties. Further, XTO asserted that the Department of Justice did not find that criminal charges were warranted after conducting its own investigation that lasted more than a year.
The Attorney General's Press Release is available at: PA Attorney General Press Release
XTO's press release is available at: XTO Press Release
Written by: Tom Panighetti
September 11, 2013