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Index > United States of America > Pennsylvania > Synd Enterprises fined  $400,000 for Violations

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Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120

DEP Fines Oil and Gas Operator $400,000 for Violations

15 June 2007 MEADVILLE -- The Department of Environmental Protection has ordered the owners of Synd Enterprises Inc. to pay a $400,000 civil penalty for numerous and chronic violations of environmental laws and regulations related to oil and gas operations.

The owners, Stephen and Cynthia Ford, of Lakewood, N.Y., entered into a consent order and agreement today whereby the couple must refrain from owning or operating any future oil and gas operations in the commonwealth and must dissolve their other active companies here.

“This settlement brings to an end a pattern of behavior that has resulted in the contamination of soil and water in one of Pennsylvania’s most pristine areas,” DEP Regional Director Kelly Burch said.

“We are satisfied that this solution is in the best interest of our residents and taxpayers, as well as the environment.”

The Fords and their various companies have been actively drilling oil and gas wells in northwestern Pennsylvania for many years.

Much of their activity has been in and around the Allegheny National Forest and in special protection watersheds.

On Dec. 12, 2006, DEP issued an order to the Fords and their various companies to cease all oil and gas well drilling, earth disturbance and well stimulation activities in Pennsylvania because of continued and numerous violations of the Oil and Gas Act, the Clean Streams Law, the Solid Waste Management Act, and the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act.

DEP had determined that the Fords and their companies had shown a lack of ability or intention to comply with the provisions of the commonwealth’s environmental laws.

Among the violations cited in the order were:

over-pressured wells, which contaminate groundwater and cause gas migration;

failure to implement erosion and sedimentation controls at well sites, leading to accelerated erosion;

unpermitted discharge of brine to the ground;

and encroachments into floodways and streams without permits.

The settlement requires the Fords to sell their oil and gas assets to Catalyst Energy Inc.

DEP has determined that Catalyst has the financial resources, skill and ability to own and operate these assets in compliance with the law.

The Bureau of Oil and Gas Management will use the $400,000 penalty to plug abandoned wells or to carry out other public health or environmental protection activities under the Oil and Gas Act.

The bureau, created in 1984 to administer the Oil and Gas Act, developed regulations for the permitting and registration of all wells, environmental requirements for operators, cementing and casing requirements, conservation wells, bonding, and gas well classification.

Prior to Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act, well activity was largely unregulated.

Additional information about the commission can be found on its web site






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