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Pennsylvania Fines Three Rice Energy Subsidiaries Nearly $400,000 For Violations

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said this week that it has fined three Rice Energy Inc. subsidiaries for violating 17 state environmental regulations that date back to 2012.

The agency said the company has already paid the fines of $393,500 for violations that occurred in Southwest Pennsylvania. Rice Drilling was cited for installing a waterline between a well pad and an impoundment without a permit, building a pipeline through a wetland that was not authorized by permit and putting three water lines under a stream when the permit authorized only one pipeline, DEP said.

All of those violations occurred in Washington County. The affiliate was also cited for 21 stream crossings without proper state permitting.

Another subsidiary, Alpha Shale Resources LP, which was formed for the company's former Marcellus Shale joint venture (JV) with coal producer Alpha Natural Resources Inc., was cited for an August 2012 spill at a well in Greene County. DEP said a fracking fluid tank at the site overflowed and spilled 100 barrels of production water on the ground.

Rice has not commented on the violations, but DEP said that the company has complied with each of its notices of violation and noted that each location is also currently in compliance with state regulations. In 2014, after Rice went public, Alpha sold its 50% stake in the Marcellus JV in exchange for $200 million in Rice common stock and $100 million in cash (see Shale DailyJan. 31, 2014). Rice now operates and owns all of that acreage.

Rice Poseidon Midstream LLC was also cited for not using "best management practices" in erosion and sediment that contributed to a landslide in March 2015, DEP said. The landslide in Greene County forced the temporary closing of a road and affected a nearby stream.

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