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Chesapeake Energy Fined $565,000 for Pennsylvania Violations

Chesapeake Energy Corp., the biggest leaseholder in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale, was fined $565,000 by state officials for environmental violations, including an April incident in which hydraulic fracturing fluids entered a local creek.

Chesapeake, based in Oklahoma City, was fined for three separate violations in 2010 and 2011, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said in a statement today. Chesapeake has rights to drill on 1.78 million acres in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus, according to Bloomberg Industries.

Among the violations, Chesapeake paid $190,000 for losing control of a wellhead for four days in April while fracking in Bradford County, the department said. Inspectors found elevated levels of dissolved solids, chlorides and barium in a nearby stream, according to the statement.

The Marcellus shale formation, which stretches from Canada to Kentucky, holds an estimated 141 trillion cubic feet of gas, the U.S. Energy Department said on Jan. 23. Producers inject water, sand and chemicals underground to release oil and gas from the dense rock.

The other fines were for dirt at Chesapeake drilling sites entering local streams. Chesapeake worked with the appropriate agencies and the April incident had “no lasting environmental impact,” the company said in a statement.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered inspections of the site in Bradford County, which borders New York, to help his state learn while it formulates shale-drilling rules.

Chesapeake was fined $1.09 million in May for environmental violations related to its drilling in Pennsylvania.

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