Philadelphia Inquirer

December 18, 2013

Marcellus Shale drilling becomes more efficient

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 15, 2013
Posted on:

When David Dewberry landed in Pennsylvania in 2010, the veteran of the migratory worldwide oil-and-gas workforce said he required more than a month to drill a typical Marcellus Shale natural gas well.

On Dec. 4, a crew under Dewberry’s direction dug into the mountaintop of a state forest near here with a diamond-studded drill bit. Dewberry reckons it will require only 16 days to finish drilling the well’s full length, more than 21/2 miles.

“Since I came up here three years ago, it’s 200 percent better,” said Dewberry, who manages this Lycoming County site in Loyalsock State Forest for Seneca Resources Corp.

The well not only will require half the time to drill, the bore will extend farther horizontally than older wells. And, if it performs like other wells in the area, it will produce a staggering amount of gas.

When it’s done, the towering rig will crawl 20 feet and begin drilling another well. Seneca plans to complete nine wells in an assembly-line fashion on this site, which is the size of five football fields.

“We’ve become so much more efficient,” Dewberry said.

Marcellus Shale exploration companies are drilling bigger wells in less time at less cost, and they are producing more natural gas than ever in Pennsylvania.…

April 18, 2013

Casino owners pay $650K over illegal dumping

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 16, 2013
Posted on:

The owners of the SugarHouse Casino have agreed to pay $650,000 to settle claims that their workers illegally dumped construction materials into the Delaware River near the Philadelphia casino, prosecutors said Monday.

Under the settlement, announced by U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger, SugarHouse HSP Gaming will pay a $25,000 civil penalty and donate $625,000 to the Brandywine Conservancy, a nonprofit agency dedicated to protecting natural resources.

“This case reinforces our commitment to protecting the environment by ensuring that corporations either follow environmental laws or face serious sanctions,” Memeger said in a statement.

Prosecutors said workers at the site of the Delaware Avenue casino were spotted dumping materials into the river on more than a dozen occasions in 2009 and 2010 without the proper permits to do so. The dumping continued after the casino operators received three cease-and-desist letters from the Army Corps of Engineers, Memeger’s office said.

The casino opened in 2010.

In a statement, the casino operators said they regretted the actions of their contractors and subcontractors.

“Rather than litigate, we’ve agreed to enter into this settlement to resolve the matter,” the statement said. “We support the mission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect the environment and our waterways.”

Neither prosecutors nor the casino identified the contractors involved in the dumping.


December 14, 2012

Paulsboro resident sues over derailment

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 7, 2012
Posted on:

A Paulsboro woman has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Conrail and its parent companies because of the train derailment that released a toxic chemical into the air and water.

Alice Breeman filed the suit in federal district court in Camden, seeking more than $150,000 in compensation for injuries and at least $10 million in punitive damages.

The suit, apparently the first to be filed as a result of the derailment, came a week after last Friday’s accident forced the evacuation of more than 700 area residents.

Breeman claims that she and her three minor children suffered physical and mental injuries and the loss of current and future income because the accident, which the suit blamed on negligence by Conrail and its employees.

The suit claims that Conrail failed to properly inspect and maintain the Paulsboro swing bridge over Mantua Creek and that Conrail employees negligently operated the train against a red signal, causing the derailment and chemical spill.

A Conrail spokesman did not immediately have a response to the lawsuit.

The derailment last Friday ruptured one of several cars carrying toxic vinyl chloride, releasing the chemical into the atmosphere and the creek. Recovery crews under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard are still working to remove the damaged cars so that residents can return to their homes.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Camden against Conrail and its parent companies, Norfolk Southern Railway Corp. and CSX Transportation Inc.


August 15, 2011

Court: Former owner of tainted daycare responsible for cleanup

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, August 11, 2011
Posted on:

The family that purchased a contaminated former thermometer factory in Gloucester County and converted it into the Kiddie Kollege day care in 2004 is liable for the roughly $1 million New Jersey paid to clean up and demolish the building under an appeals court ruling issued today.

The ruling overturns a trial court decision that said Jim Sullivan 3d and relatives were not liable because the Franklin Township tax collector had not informed them the vacant building was contaminated before they bought it through a tax sale and foreclosure.

An Environmental Protection Report the Sullivans received from the town prior to their purchase “should have at least alerted them” to the possibility the building was contaminated, according to the panel. It is up to purchasers to find out if a property needs remediation, the court said in a published 21-page decision.

Sullivan, a former Franklin Township real estate broker who turned the building into a day care attended by 100 infants and children, last year agreed to settle a lawsuit the children’s parents brought against him for $1 million.

But state Superior Court Judge James Rafferty had voided the Sullivan family’s deed to the building, which freed them of the responsibility of paying for the clean-up and demolition.

“We’re very disappointed in this decision and are assessing our options,” Richard Hluchan, the Sullivan family’s lawyer, said today. He would not say whether an appeal would be filed.

M. James Maley Jr., who represented Franklin, could not reached for comment.…