I welcome Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane's decision to prosecute XTO Energy for dumping more than 50,000 gallons of fracking wastewater ("XTO Energy Charged in Spill," Sept. 11). For too long drilling companies have been allowed to get away with little more than a slap on the wrist for actions that break our laws and negatively impact our environment. Attorney General Kane's actions send a message to companies that whether your actions are intentional or due to neglect, you will be held accountable.
XTO first blamed the unplugged tank on vandals and then on an employee of the contracted recycling company. XTO seems quick to blame others, yet it failed to take preventive measures like having someone oversee the contractor or putting in place a secondary containment system in case of a leak. Are these the actions of a company trying to implement good environmental practices?
Industry claims the prosecution will deter investment in Pennsylvania. This couldn't be further from the truth. Holding companies responsible for their actions is what our leaders are supposed to do. Our attorney general, unlike our governor, seems to understand that. In reality, the real threat to investment in Pennsylvania's future is companies that pollute our water, violate our laws and get away with it.
Hopefully the attorney general's announcement makes drilling companies realize there's a price to be paid for failing to protect our environment.
Marcellus Shale Coordinator
Clean Water Action