Gas driller pushes back against grand jury, defends record

June 18, 2020 GMT

DIMOCK, Pa. (AP) — A gas driller is pushing back against a grand jury’s claim that it acted with “long-term indifference” toward a Pennsylvania community where high levels of methane leaked into residential groundwater supplies.

Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. was charged this week with breaking state environmental laws after a grand jury investigation found the Houston-based driller failed to fix faulty gas wells that are leaking methane into aquifers in Dimock and surrounding communities. The grand jury criticized what it called Cabot’s “long-term indifference to the damage it caused to the environment and citizens of Susquehanna County.”

In a written statement late Wednesday, the company said it “categorically denies” assertions that it “acted with indifference toward the community where we live and operate.” The statement said that Cabot’s “history and involvement in the community shows a very different reality than what was painted” by the grand jury.

The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office filed 15 criminal charges against Cabot, nine of them felonies. Cabot has not yet entered a plea. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for July 21.