Group announces PGE to plug controversial well

Grant Township in Indiana County and Pennsylvania General Energy – based in Warren – have been fighting in state and federal court for a decade over whether a well owned by PGE could be converted into an injection well to dispose of oil and gas wastewater.

An environmental group has announced that PGE has informed the Department of Environmental Protection of its intent to plug the subject well.

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund said in a release that the well will be plugged after Memorial Day.

What this means for two outstanding cases is unclear. There are active cases both in the U.S. District Court as well as with the state Supreme Court.,

A May 16 filing in the federal proceeding by Grant Township included an en exhibit – a “notice of intention by well operator to plug a well” from PGE filed with DEP. That document states that a “gas migration issue” was discovered during a routine inspection.

The filing by PGE proposes a plugging method that would “provide the best means for sealing the current microannulus and provide significant protection to be sure gas cannot migrate into the water table once the well is fully plugged and abandoned.”

A Thursday order by U.S. District Judge Susan Paradise Baxter called for both sides to submit briefs on issues of “standing and mootness.”

According to the CELDF, “not a single drop of frack waste has been injected within the township due to hard work, resistance and resilience.”

“This is what resistance, resilience, and success can look like,” said CELDF’s Chad Nicholson.

“The community in Grant Township has demonstrated true courage in the face of a legal, political, and economic system stacked against them at every turn,” CELDF Pennsylvania Director Chad Nicholson said. “We are proud to continue to stand with those in Grant Township. There is more to come, and this fight is not over, yet this news is a major victory for the rights of people, communities, and nature.”


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