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Time for Chevron to pay up

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has completed its investigation of a fatal gas well explosion and fire that occurred early 2014 and decided what Chevron’s penalty will be.

The company’s Appalachia division is being fined $940,000 for violating the state’s Oil and Gas Act. According to the DEP, Chevron failed “to construct and operate the well site to ensure that health, safety and environment were protected.”

Brenda Cosola, Chevron’s spokesperson, explained that the company cooperated with the DEP during the investigation and takes full responsibility for the incident:

Chevron deeply regrets this incident and acknowledges the extensive efforts of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in its response and investigation … Protecting people and the environment is a core value for Chevron, and we are determined to prevent an incident like this from happening again.

As reported by the Pittsburgh Business Times, “The fire and explosion occurred Feb. 11, 2014, at the company’s Lanco 7H well in Dunkard Township, Greene County. The accident occurred as the well was being brought into production.”

The explosion and fire occurred due to a wellhead component being ejected from the wellhead, which allowed the gas to escape and ignite.  Ian McKee, a former Chevron contractor, was killed from the blast.  Chevron and McKee’s family agreed to a wrongful death lawsuit settlement of $5 million last week.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, “The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration also had investigated the accident but did not pursue any penalties.”

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