The second largest natural gas producer in the United States, Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) , got permission from the Department of Environmental Protection to release methane, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and other gases from its Dytco site on Stone Church road. Many people and organizations, including Dr. Michael Blatt, a respiratory disease specialist who lives near the well site, have raised objections. But DEP’s Air Quality Director, John Benedict, approved Chesapeake’s application last week.
It’s not the only site, as Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) was seeking to release such pollution from other sites as well. Recently, the natural gas giant issued three legal advertisements, saying that it will release the same emissions at three other drilling pads. Through many other legal advertisements, Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) has officially confirmed the “potential to discharge” differing amounts of such pollutants every year from the compressor stations, including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, benzene, nitrogen oxide, methane, xylene, formaldehyde, toluene, etc.
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“This is really rough on people, especially those who live close by to them,” said Ben Stout, a biology professor at Wheeling Jesuit University.“When they are flaring off all that stuff, it has to come down somewhere.”
In a notice, the company said it will release similar emissions from three drilling pads- one in the east of Wellsburg, another near West Liberty, and the third site is near GC&P Road, which is situated in Ohio County. Along with the emission from the well sites, the company will also release pollutants from two local compressor stations, one is near The Highlands (Interstate 70 Dallas Pike exit) and the other one is on the border of Marshall/Ohio County (Sand Hill area). Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) is the sole active Marcellus Shale driller in Ohio.
The air quality division of Department of Environmental Protection doesn’t measure the cumulative impact of multiple Chesapeake sites across the Ohio county. Instead, it evaluates each individual site independent of the others, i.e., it doesn’t bother how much pollutants are released by the nearby processing plants, compressor stations, well pads, or trucks.
The Health Department of Wheeling-Ohio county is also studying the data, to see how Chesapeake’s drilling operations will affect the air quality in the long run.