According to a Department of Justice press release, Chesapeake Appalachia pled guilty on Oct. 5 in federal court to three violations of the Clean Water Act related to natural gas drilling activity in northern West Virginia. The press release states:
Chesapeake pled guilty to three counts of “Unauthorized Discharge into a Water of the United States” in that it discharged sixty (60) tons of crushed stone and gravel into Blake Fork, a water of the United States, on at least three different occasions in December of 2008.
Chesapeake also admitted that after discharging the stone and gravel that it then spread the material in the stream to create a roadway for the purpose of improving access to a site associated with Marcellus Shale drilling activity in Wetzel County, West Virginia.
“This criminal conviction sends a clear message to other companies involved with fracking activities across the country that such violations of the federal Clean Water Act will not be tolerated,” said Kate Hudson, watershed program director for Riverkeeper, while commenting on the case.
“It is unfortunate that the federal government’s authority to regulate environmentally destructive activities on the part of certain companies involved with shale gas extraction is not broader, because of the many loopholes and exemptions that the industry has been given, or we might be seeing more frequent and firm enforcement action being taken against those in the industry who are choosing to ignore the law.”