Pennsylvania files its first criminal case against a Marcellus shale drilling company

In the "first criminal action against a Marcellus shale drilling company since the natural gas boom began five years ago" in Pennsylvania, the state is charging XTO Energy Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp.'s shale-drilling subsidiary, with "five counts of unlawful conduct under the Clean Streams Law and three counts under the Solid Waste Management Act," Philly.com reports. The state maintains that "there was evidence of previous, unreported spills" of up to 50,000 gallons of toxic wastewater at XTO's Marquardt well site in Penn Township before a 6,300-gallon wastewater spill was discovered there on Nov. 16, 2010. XTO maintains that "the spill was an accident committed by a contractor and criminal charges are baseless," noting that it has "paid $1.3 million to clean up the site and negotiated a $100,000 federal civil settlement, including an agreement to upgrade its wastewater handling procedures at a cost of about $20 million," the article said. A Lycoming County Court judge is currently deciding whether the case can move ahead to a full trial. For more, read the full story.

Oil & Gas Litigation, Pennsylvania