Numerous Independent Rulings, Government Studies Refute Allegations in New Book
Over the last 25 years, Range has built long-standing relationships across Pennsylvania that the Company is extremely proud of, but none are more important than those in Washington County, which is an extra special place for our company and employees. It is where Range pioneered the Marcellus Shale, which is now the largest natural gas play in the United States and is home to Range offices and over 400 employees. The Marcellus has provided opportunities and resources to towns like Amwell Township all across Pennsylvania. Our employees are embedded here and they are committed to being good stewards to the environment and the communities.
This is why we want to directly communicate about a new book that willfully misrepresents the facts and information around Range’s operations in Washington County and is based solely on more than six years of litigation where Range has defended itself and refuted the allegations raised.Yeager Well Site, Amwell Township, June 2018
The book, titled Amity & Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America, which was funded by the Rockefeller Family Fund, will focus on Range’s operations at Yeager well site in Amwell Township. This book was a direct effort to support a legal case against Range, which has finally been resolved after more than six years.
Although the book contains countless false accusations, which Range has always taken very seriously, we maintain our long-standing position that Range’s operations did not impact the plaintiffs’ water supplies, or cause any adverse health impacts to any of the family members or their animals detailed in the book – all of which is supported by determinations from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Pennsylvania tribunal courts and multiple expert analyses, and investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Court-ordered independent medical examinations of the plaintiffs all concluded that there was no objective evidence linking Range’s operations to any alleged or real medical conditions.
As background, Range began developing the Yeager well site in Amwell Township in 2009. Development at the site included multiple shale wells and a water impoundment, which has since been reclaimed. While some spills occurred during operations at that well site, there were no long-lasting environmental or health impacts to the community. Range has learned from these incidents and grown in an effort to continue to improve as an organization.
Given how important this topic is to Range and its employees, company representatives spent time working with the author to provide the facts and realities around the activities at the Yeager well site, even providing her with a tour of that location and providing this response. While we believe some of that information made its way into this book, the author, the lawyers and the plaintiffs had a pre-determined agenda.
As a company, we are extremely proud of our long-standing relationship with the people of Washington County, PA – including in Amwell Township. We firmly believe many of the viewpoints in this book do not represent the support for Range and the natural gas industry by the local community. In fact, some of the industry’s most avid supporters live in the area and know Range’s proud history in Amwell Township. Range’s relationship with royalty owners and the Amwell Township community is very strong, as evidenced by a packed house at a recent community meeting where leaseholders received updates on operations and future plans.
Over the past six years the allegations raised by the author, the plaintiffs and their lawyers have been refuted by regulatory agencies and the courts.
The Pennsylvania DEP informed plaintiffs in 2011 that:
“Your water supply does not evince gas well related contamination…In summary, DEP has determined that Range has not contaminated your water supply.”Pennsylvania DEP letter to Plaintiff
The Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (Pennsylvania EHB) spent months reviewing the accusations made by the plaintiffs, investigated and visited the site, and agreed with the Pennsylvania DEP and concluded that the problems with the water well:
“(were not) caused by gas well related activities, particularly at the Yeager well site operated by Range.”June 12, 2015, Pennsylvania EHB Decision
The EHB decision went into further detail and stated:
“The physical facts showed that his water well was located adjacent to a salvage yard with numerous automobiles and other solid waste product on the grounds over the years…The appellant never performed any maintenance on his water well or on his septic system.”June 12, 2015, Pennsylvania EHB Decision
The plaintiffs’ claims were thoroughly investigated by various regulatory agencies, including the U.S. EPA and the Pennsylvania DEP, and were scrutinized by the Pennsylvania EHB and Commonwealth Court. Each of these entities made conclusions and findings that were aligned – Range did not cause any negative health impacts to people or animals in the vicinity of the Yeager well site.
Water problems were not caused by gas related activities
The Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board specifically concluded that the problems with the water well were not “caused by gas well related activities, particularly at the Yeager well site operated by Range.” The plaintiff further appealed this decision, but the appellate courts agreed with the well-reasoned conclusions of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Hearing Board.
DEP study found air quality safe
The Yeager well site was one of the locations chosen for a 2010 Pennsylvania DEP Ambient Air Quality study, which found: “the screening results found during the five-week study, did not indicate a potential for major air-related health issues associated with the Marcellus Shale natural gas activities.”
Health claims were unfounded
Despite the plaintiffs’ health claims, they provided no evidence establishing a link between Range’s operations and the alleged ailments. Additionally, court ordered independent medical examinations that were conducted by qualified medical doctors, concluded that plaintiffs’ alleged symptoms had no correlation to alleged exposures due to oil and gas development.
The independent medical examinations further concluded that the plaintiffs’ alleged health claims lacked consistency or reproducibility, as several neighbors lived in the same vicinity and did not report similar symptoms.
Range is very proud of its operations and commitment to the community, which have combined to generate a large amount of public support across Washington County, Pennsylvania. We take the accusations made in this book very seriously and maintain our long-standing position that our operations at the Yeager well site did not impact the water supplies or cause any adverse health impacts to the family members or animals detailed in the book. Although we have not had a chance to read the book in its entirety, it is clear the narrative is driven by unfounded accusations that contradict the findings of the Pennsylvania DEP, Pennsylvania courts, the U.S. EPA and multiple expert analyses.