CLARKSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — State authorities have announced charges against a company over a natural gas explosion that leveled a house and injured a western Pennsylvania family five years ago.
Attorney General Michelle Henry said Wednesday that the criminal complaint alleges methane gas in an underground storage reservoir owned and operated by Equitrans L.P. migrated upward into a deteriorating company storage well and eventually reached the Greene County home, leading to the blast.
Natural gas storage fields such as Equitrans’ Pratt field allow companies to store gas underground and to extract it during periods of high demand, such as the winter months. But Henry said the company had long acknowledged in federal filings “that the Pratt field was losing gas and that wells within the field were likely leaking.” headtopics.com
Henry said the company was charged at the recommendation of a grand jury with a felony as well as misdemeanor counts of violating the state’s clean streams law in failure to properly maintain a storage well and in not having performed a stray gas investigation after the explosion, Henry said.
Henry apologized to members of the family, who she said were present but didn’t speak, saying the family had no idea the underground field existed when they purchased the home. Pointing to pictures of the leveled house, she called it “a true miracle” that all three people managed to get out of the home alive. headtopics.com
“Every citizen deserves to feel safe in their own homes, unaffected by the environmental hazards created by large corporations,” she said. Equitrans on Tuesday disputed the grand jury’s conclusion, saying it had fully cooperated with the body’s investigation and believes evidence it presented “factually demonstrates that Equitrans’ operations were not the cause of the incident,” spokesperson Natalie Cox said.earlier this year that a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection report last year said the source of the gas couldn’t conclusively be determined but cited Equitrans and Peoples Natural Gas as two likely candidates.
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