Updated: Aug 11, 2021
Drakulic Environmental Hearing Board Case Docket No. 2018-080-R
Protect PT, along with The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Apex Energy individually filed motions for summary judgments on September 6, 2019. The Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) issued an Opinion and Order on January 30, 2020 granted summary judgment to Apex on the issue of whether 25 Pa. Code § 78a.555 requires the submission of an emergency response plan prior to the issuance of a permit and partial summary judgment to DEP and Apex on the issue of whether the Department complied with “its legal obligation to ensure the protection of threatened or endangered species in issuing the permits”.
In this case, Protect PT asserts that Apex did not have a complete and accurate emergency response plan (ERP) in place. Apex failed to identify risks and hazards within half a mile of the well site, leaving residents to face the reality that they are put at risk of evacuation with no plan in place on how that will occur, where they will go, who will alert them to leave their home, how long they will be forced away and what measures they need to take to protect their families. Numerous parks and schools were missing from the plan, which is unacceptable and unsafe. In the case of most other well pads, the plan is to evacuate a half-mile to a mile radius around the site, depending on the location, topography, and weather in the region. Some of the toxic materials that would spew out of a flared well could settle into valleys. Considering the Drakulic pad is located on top of a hill with a high population surrounding it, this could be extremely dangerous for around 10,000 people.
Additionally, DEP issued these permits with full knowledge of Apex’s ongoing violations at other unconventional well sites, including the Fatur well site in Salem Township. At the Fatur well site, Apex has been in violation for years for discharging polluted waters into waters of the commonwealth. Read more about the violations on the e-facts website.