PA Attorney General Charges Owner of Gas Exploration Company

Venango County man charged in illegal dumping case related to natural gas drilling

Acting Attorney General Bill Ryan News Release

3-1-11 William HendersonHARRISBURG – A Venango County man is facing illegal dumping charges following an investigation into the disposal of gas well production brine into abandoned wells.

Acting Attorney General Bill Ryan identified the defendant as William Henderson, 53, 16899 Jerusalem Corners Road, Pleasantville, Venango County.  Henderson is the owner of Titusville Oil & Gas, Inc.

Ryan said that Titusville Oil & Gas conducts various oil and gas exploration activities in Allegheny Township, Venango County and owns a tank battery located on the Seaton JDB Lease along State Route 36.

According to the criminal complaint, in September 2010 Henderson placed a discharge pipe from the Seaton JDB Lease to an adjacent abandoned oil well owned by a competitor.

The charges state that the pipe Henderson ran to the abandoned well ruptured and caused a significant amount of production brine to discharge onto the ground. Brine is gas well production water.

Investigators later discovered another discharge pipe connected to two storage tanks on the adjacent property, leading to a pit and another abandoned well. Production brine was allegedly discharged at both locations and caused the ground to be stained and vegetation to be killed.

Ryan said that Henderson did not have a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection for production brine disposal at either site.

Henderson is charged with two counts of unlawful conduct under Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act and Solid Waste Management Act.

The case will be prosecuted in Venango County by Deputy Attorney General Amy Carnicella of the Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Section.

(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)

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