Chesapeake Energy Faces Maryland Lawsuit over Pennsylvania Fracking Blowout

Last month’s fracking blowout in Bradford County, Pennsylvania is having repercussions as far away as Maryland. That state’s attorney general has announced that he will file a lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy Corp., the operator of the blown well. According to a “Notice of Intent to Sue,” the Maryland Attorney General argues that the fracking fluid spilled by the blowout contained toxic chemicals, and therefore constitutes a violation of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, as well as the Clean Water Act.

As we reported previously, Chesapeake suspended fracking operations in Pennsylvania following the April 19 natural gas well blowout in Bradford County. The well blowout near the town of Canton allowed thousands of gallons of chemical-laced fracking fluid to spew from the damaged well. The spilled fluid breached its containment, and spilled out onto adjacent farmland and into a tributary of Towanda Creek.

According to a report from High Country News, seven families had to evacuate their homes due to the fracking fluid spill. It took a response team 13 hours to reach the site, and six days went by before workers were able to seal the leak and get the well “under control.”

Towanda Creek flows into the Susquehanna River, which provides 45 percent of the fresh water entering the Chesapeake Bay, and supplies drinking water to 6.2 million people. In times of drought, Baltimore, Maryland relies on the Susquehanna watershed for drinking water.

In the “Notice of Intent to Sue,” Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler told Chesapeake that the spill “may pose … an imminent and substantial endangerment to the health of the population adjacent to the well site, recreational users of Towanda Creek and the Susquehanna River and to the environment. …”

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection issued a Notice of Violation to Chesapeake Energy over the incident outlining possible fines and asking for a complete list of the ingredients in the fracking fluid that was spilled by the blowout.

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