Plans scrapped for drilling waste in PA’s Grand Canyon | StateImpact Pennsylvania
photo credit Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania
StateImpact Pennsylvania reports an application to dump 400,000 tons of natural gas drilling waste near a tributary to Pine Creek in Tioga County has been withdrawn. Macellus shale drilling waste is known to contain uranium, thorium and radium from the shale below the surface. Marcellus shale drilling waste also contains pyrite, which when exposed to air and water produces sulfuric acid. Under the so-called Halliburton Loophole in the 2005 Energy Policy Act, the drilling waste is exempted from the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection nevertheless found the application for disposal of the waste to be deficient. Rather than provide additional documentation, the applicant withdrew the sediment control permit application, according to StateImpact Pennsylvania.
A waste disposal company has backed off its controversial plan to use 400,000 tons of natural gas drill cuttings to help expand an airport in Tioga County. The proposal would have put the waste, which includes dirt and rock displaced by shale gas well-drilling, on a steep embankment near a tributary to the Pine Creek Gorge, a pristine watershed also known as the “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.” The Department of Environmental Protection says the Montgomery County company, Clean Earth, did not respond to the agency’s questions on a number of issues with the permit application, which the DEP calls “technical deficiencies.” So Clean Earth decided to withdraw an erosion and sediment control permit application for the first stage of the project. StateImpact Pennsylvania first reported on the project back in July.