Props are in order for Chesapeake Energy Corp., one of the country’s biggest natural gas producers, for finding yet another way to make a big mess with fracking. This time, it was irresponsible construction practices.

Company subsidiary Chesapeake Appalachia will pay a near-record $3.2 million in federal penalties for clean water violations at fracking facilities in West Virginia. It will also spend $6.5 million more to restore 27 sites that it damaged with construction activities and pollution. From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Most of the discharges subject to the consent decree are related to the construction of fracking facilities, but none of them involved actual fracking, said Donna Heron, spokeswoman for the EPA’s Mid-Atlantic region.

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“In doing the construction, that’s where they were discharging fill material into the wetlands and the streams. And that’s what the violations were about,” she said.

The violations of the Clean Water Act involved discharges done without required Army Corps of Engineers permits, said Tom Aluise, spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. …

West Virginia, which is a co-plaintiff in the settlement, will receive half of the civil penalty.

We get that that frackers are keen to make a buck. But why, oh why, must they do absolutely everything with nary a thought given to the environment?

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