Range Resources’ Suppliers Ordered to Reveal Amwell Drilling
Washington PA Observer Reporter
5 November 2013
by Scott Beveridge, Staff Writer
Range Resources’ drilling site and fracking impoundment in Amwell
Township must turn over a detailed list of their product’s formula
under a lawsuit filed by nearby residents who claim they were
sickened by the operation, a Washington County court order states.
President Judge Debbie O’Dell Seneca gave 40 contractors and
subcontractors to the Southpointe-based Marcellus Shale natural
gas exploration company’s Yeager site on McAdams Road 30 days to
provide the court with all chemicals, components or substances
used there since 2009, court records show.
Her Tuesday order followed a status conference Thursday on the
July 2012 lawsuit filed by Cecil Township attorneys John and
Kendra Smith on behalf of eight Amwell residents who also claim
the drilling project contaminated their well water.
The order is a result of the “plaintiffs’ efforts to determine
what was used at the site and when,” John Smith said, declining to
comment further on the record about the case.
Range has denied the allegations and argued in court documents
that the plaintiffs failed to provide the court with clear
evidence of their injuries.
The 25-count lawsuit charges Range with negligence, partly over
allegations it allowed a hole to develop in the impoundment pond’s
liner and contaminate the soil and groundwater.
The lawsuit lists the plaintiffs as Stacey, Harley and Paige
Haney; Beth, John and Ashley Voyles; and Loren and Grace
In court documents, Stacey Haney claimed to have suffered
neurological, gastrointestinal and dermatological symptoms
consistent with toxic exposure. In a separate appeal to the state
Environmental Hearing Board, Loren Kiskadden claimed his well
water turned gray and foamed as a result of the contamination.
Kiskadden accused Range in the EHB suit of not knowing or being
able to determine all of the chemicals used at its Pennsylvania
Range Resources spokesman Matt Pitzarella said they are complying
with the order, but expected it to be a “lengthy process” to
release information on every fluid at the sites. He said the order
is so detailed that it includes even engine lubricants for
vehicles that were used at those locations.
“They’re asking for and we’re supplying every and any chemical on
the location,” Pitzarella said.
He was adamant that environmental regulators have found no
contamination in that area.
“They’ve not seen any evidence or any issues with our activities
with water wells or the air,” Pitzarella said.
The lawsuit fills 20 case files in the county prothonotary’s
office and has spawned calls for reform from one state lawmaker
and a string of environmental groups.
State Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, has called for an investigation
into the state Department of Environmental Protection as a way for
residents to obtain more accurate reporting information at
Meanwhile, environmental groups, such as Clean Water Action, have
cited the Yeager case in pleas to Gov. Tom Corbett to order
reforms at the DEP in regards to Marcellus oversight.
In a separate case before Commonwealth Court filed by the Voyles
against the DEP over regulating the Yeager impoundment, the higher
court ordered Range on Sept. 23 to remove any fluids from the pond
and not use it for any purpose in preparation for its November
closing, the record shows.
The company’s attorney in the Washington County case, Dennis
Mulvihill, did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday.
Staff writer Mike Jones contributed to this story.