Chesapeake paying $600K for waterfall destruction

WHEELING (AP) — Chesapeake Appalachia has pleaded guilty to three violations of the federal Clean Water Act for destroying a Wetzel County waterfall while drilling a well near Proctor.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld says Chesapeake will pay $600,000 in fines under the plea agreement entered Friday in U.S. District Court in Wheeling.

Chesapeake pleaded guilty to three counts of illegally discharging 60 tons of crushed stone and gravel into Blake Fork at least three times in December 2008, then spreading that material to build a road.

Inspectors found the problem in 2010.

Chesapeake is being fined $200,000 per violation. It announced last December that the waterfall had been restored.

The parties also agreed that separate violations for impoundments in Marshall and Wetzel counties will be addressed with civil penalties instead of criminal charges.

Chesapeake said in a statement that it is committed to regulatory compliance. The company said it promptly instituted training and oversight to help ensure that its regulatory obligations are met.

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