Corps, EPA, DOJ resolve Chesapeake Energy permit issue

Published Dec. 20, 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced today that Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC, a subsidiary of Chesapeake Energy, will spend an EPA-estimated $6.5 million to restore 27 sites damaged by unauthorized discharges of fill material into streams and wetlands, and to implement a comprehensive plan to comply with federal and state water protection laws at the company’s natural gas extraction sites in West Virginia. 


The company will also pay a civil penalty of $3.2 million for violations of the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) Section 404 program, administered by the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), which requires a permit prior to the discharge of dredged or fill material into wetlands, rivers, streams, and other waters of the United States.


Pursuant to the 1989 Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of the Army and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), concerning Federal enforcement for the Section 404 program, EPA Region III requested the lead on all oil and gas related violations in the USACE Pittsburgh District (WV & PA) in 2011. The Pittsburgh District collaborated with and actively supported the EPA and the Department of Justice’s efforts in this case.


Compliance with the Corps’ permit process and regulations helps to ensure that enforcement actions like this one do not occur. Any person, firm, or agency (including Federal, state, and local government agencies) planning to work in navigable waters of the United States, or discharge (dump, place, deposit) dredged or fill material in waters of the United States, including wetlands, must first obtain a permit from the Corps of Engineers. Permits, licenses, variances, or similar authorization may also be required by other Federal, state and local statutes. The Corps will endeavor to provide helpful information and alternatives that may prove to be useful in designing a project.


Examples of oil and gas activities that may impact waters of the U.S. and require authorization from the Corps include, but are not limited to: pipelines, access roads, well pads, water impoundments, and intake/outfall structures.


The geographical boundary of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Pittsburgh District, Regulatory Branch, includes portions of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.


For more information contact: Jon Coleman at 412-395-7188.

Release no. 13-354