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Permit for gas well waste injection getting closer look
By: WJAC Web Staff
JAMES CITY, Pa. -- A permit for gas well waste injection approved by the Environmental Protection Agency is going to get a closer look.
Federal prosecutors said an important process to plug wells near an injection site was not followed and a federal grand jury indicted a man responsible for the work after lying about it.
Residents and lawmakers in Elk County are questioning the way the EPA approved permits for injection wells.
People who live in James City filled the Municipal Building to protest an injection well near the towns water supply.
6 News is now learning a man is facing federal charges after lying to the EPA to get a permit for a different well.
Sources told us Highland Township officials are going to be filing another appeal to the EPA; they were already filing one against a permit that was granted to Seneca Resources to put a waste receiving well less than a mile from the towns water supply.
According to federal court documents, ARG Resources hired S&T services to plug abandoned wells that are located within a quarter mile of the proposed injection well, which is a required step in getting an injection well permit.
Federal prosecutors said Ronald Wrights, who worked for S&T, lied on well plugging certificates, claiming he had properly plugged three wells when he did not.
If convicted Wright could face a 15-year federal prison sentence and face fines of up to $750,000. He is due in court on Feb. 19.
In the meantime state Rep. Matt Gabler lashed out at the EPA for not doing more to verify the well plugging certificates.
Gabler released a statement saying, Todays report is yet another devastating indictment of the EPAs underground injection well permitting process. Reports show the EPA is investigating a case of fraudulent testimony, testimony which they relied upon to issue the injection well permit near James City, despite an ongoing investigation into the validity of the testimony.
Neither the EPA nor ARG was available to comment on this matter and S&T services declined to comment.