HomeEnvironment & Climate NewsUproar Cancels Pennsylvania Injection Well; Locals Are not 'Easy Pickings'
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Uproar Cancels Pennsylvania Injection Well; Locals Are not ‘Easy Pickings’

(The Center Square) – A proposed injection well for fracking wastewater in Fayette County is no more, as the company withdrew its permit application after community opposition rallied against the project.

Locals united against the injection well when word of it spread in July and prepared for an expensive fight.

On Aug. 3, G2 STEM withdrew its application in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency, citing “the number of legitimate concerns and the challenges to overcome” them.

“The application was withdrawn due to challenges brought forth by our team of engineers and geologists,” G2 Development Partners Manager Andrea Ballantine said in a text.

The permit would authorize the injection well to take up to 77,500 barrels of wastewater every month for 10 years, stirring opposition from local residents and politicians alike, as The Center Square previously reported.

Rep. Charity Grimm Krupa, R-McClellandtown, did not respond to a request for comment, but previously said the well could burden “one of the poorest regions in Pennsylvania” with clean-up costs if anything went wrong at the Nicholson Township site.

Rather than engineering-related concerns, though, locals believe that their opposition drove the company to cancel the project.

“We wanted to send the clear message that if G2 was going to operate in Fayette County, it was going to be very expensive for them,” said Geno Gallo, an organizer with Fight for Fayette.

Demonstrating opposition against federal agencies, too, helped.

“The key to being successful here was putting pressure on the EPA,” Gallo said. “We were going to bring national attention to it, no matter what we had to do … they were aware we weren’t going be easy pickings.”

G2 STEM wasn’t the only group that drew the ire of residents. Gallo also criticized the EPA’s process for alerting the public about permits.

“There was a breakdown between the EPA and the local government,” he said. “They need to notify all the local environmental groups … it’s not as transparent as it should be.”

G2 STEM will still have a presence in the commonwealth; in June, the EPA issued a permit for an injection well in Jefferson County’s Young Township. Though Pennsylvania has relatively few injection wells, it’s rare for a township to prevent one. In Indiana County, Grant Township had a decade-long fight to stop an injection well and changed their system of government to block it.

Gallo said the area’s history with coal and coke operations fueled opposition.

“It’s more than just not in our backyard – we just can’t take anymore,” Gallo said. “The coal and coke industry, historically, they’ve left a horrible environmental legacy … they’ve never cleaned that waste up – and the taxpayers are cleaning that waste up.”

Fayette County has significant natural gas production, too.

It received almost $3 million in impact fee revenues this year alone, of which Nicholson Township received $30,000, according to the Public Utility Commission. Since the impact fee took effect, the township has received $570,000. Most of those funds, according to the county’s latest report from 2018, goes to support emergency preparedness and public safety.

For other places that want to stop an injection well, Gallo suggested a big push.

“No one wants one of these things next to them,” Gallo said. “These communities, they got to come out hard and fast against these things.”

In an email to The Center Square, the EPA wrote, “The EPA received 157 written comments during the public comment period. About a third of the comments, 52, asked for a hearing on the injection well, and the federal agency received another 43 calls and emails opposing the injection well.”

Anthony Hennen is a staff reporter for The Center Square.

Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.

For more on fracking, click here.

For more on Pennsylvania energy policies, click here.


Anthony Hennen
Anthony Hennen
Anthony Hennen is a staff reporter for The Center Square.


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