BOCA RATON, Fla., April 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- On April 2, 2013, the Wall Street Journal published an article entitled, "As Big Drillers Move In, Safety Goes Up." The article featured a number of statements about East Resources, Inc. ("East") and its environmental compliance record with respect to the Marcellus Shale well program conducted prior to the sale of East's Pennsylvania assets in July of 2010 to an affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell. East would like to correct a number of inaccuracies and provide additional information about its Marcellus Shale program.
East's active development of the Marcellus Shale began in 2008 and concluded in July of 2010 upon the asset sale to Shell. It was East's top priority to conduct its operations as a good corporate citizen, contributing to the economy and local communities, while striving to protect the environment and personal and public safety. Consistent with that philosophy, in 2009, East made a $750,000 contribution to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission to provide funds to create a network of remote water quality monitoring stations in areas of the basin where East's (and other operator's) Marcellus Shale development was most active. The objective of the monitoring network was to verify whether natural gas development activity was causing adverse impacts on water quality. This donation earned East the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission's Chairman's Stewardship Award, representing the IOGCC's highest honor for exemplary efforts by the oil and gas industry in environmental stewardship.
East was a founding member of the Marcellus Shale Coalition ("MSC"). East suggested the creation of and chaired the MSC's Stray Gas task force, a group that was commissioned to review and set standards for well construction and operational practices that would seek to prevent any migration of natural gas from wells. While its Marcellus Shale program was active, East:
- Instituted a practice of installing monitoring wells on its well pads in order to protect the integrity of local water resources.
- Engaged an independent environmental consultant to perform inspections of East's well locations in order to insure environmentally safe management of water, waste water, drilling fluids, and fuel and compliance with environmental regulations. In 2010, this engagement represented an annual cost to East of over $1 million.
- Actively participated in industry groups and activities aimed at responsible development of the Marcellus Shale.
During East's period of development, its operations were frequently inspected by personnel from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ("PA DEP"). A significant number of inspections were completed with a "no violation" result. It is important to note that Notices of Violation were almost always the result of unintentional and undesired occurrences and many were minor administrative oversights.