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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Is It Time To Indict Governor Tom Corbett?

Governor Tom Corbett was PA State Attorney's General when Allan Shipman was dumping toxic fracking water into our streams and creeks, and Corbett knew it. Corbett failed to indict Shipman when he had the evidence to indict this sleaze bag who was polluting our watershed. Corbett needs to be investigated about this, and if he failed to move forward in hopes of obtaining Marcellus Shale industry campaign contributions and endorsements, then he should be indicted as a co-conspirator.

Shipman is charged with 77 counts, and his business charged with 98 criminal counts and Corbett did nothing when A.G.?

The US Justice Department needs to investigate Tom Corbett!

State charges local company for dumping wastewater and sludge
Marcellus Shale waste released throughout six-county region
Friday, March 18, 2011

State prosecutors charged a Greene County man Thursday with illegally dumping millions of gallons of Marcellus Shale wastewater, sewer sludge and greasy restaurant slop in holes, mine shafts and waterways in a six-county region from 2003 to 2009.

"He was pouring the stuff in any hole he could find," said Nils Frederiksen, spokesman for the attorney general's office.

All the while, an investigating grand jury indicated, Robert Allan Shipman was building his bank account, earning up to $7 million a year, according to the presentment.

The grand jury recommended 98 criminal charges against Mr. Shipman, 49, of New Freeport and 77 counts against his company, Allan's Waste Water Service Inc. for their alleged actions -- sometimes under cover of darkness or during heavy rains -- in Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

"This was a calculated and long-running scheme to personally profit by illegally dumping wastewater, regardless of the potential for environmental damage," acting Attorney General Bill Ryan said in a statement.

Mr. Frederiksen said it was one of the largest dumping cases in recent memory. Mr. Shipman's attorney denied the allegations and claimed they stemmed from the testimony of disgruntled former employees.

"Allan never did any of this personally as some of the witnesses accused him, nor did he ever instruct any of his drivers to improperly dispose of any wastewater," attorney Christopher Blackwell said.

"Whether or not they did that, we don't know. Whether or not they did some of this on their own to avoid the long lines that are at some of those disposal facilities, we don't know."
Notable in the nine-page presentment from the grand jury is the mention of Dunkard Creek, site of a massive 2009 fish kill over a 30-mile stretch along the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border.

Drivers for Mr. Shipman's company testified that they and their boss emptied tanker trucks with drilling waste into a floor drain that led to Tom's Run which, according to the presentment, empties into to Dunkard Creek.

Drivers also testified they disposed of some waste by "cocktailing," or mixing a variety of wastes, in a variety of locations, including Morris Run air shaft in Consol Energy's abandoned Blacksville No. 2 mine.

The shaft leads to a mine pool, "which ultimately discharges into Dunkard Creek," the presentment said.

Consol has a permit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to dump "production water" -- water that emerges from a well along with natural gas and is then separated -- into the Morris Run air shaft, according to the presentment.

However, the grand jury alleged, Mr. Shipman's company does not have the DEP's OK to discharge waste into Morris Run or Dunkard creeks.

The EPA announced this week that Consol would pay a $5.5 million civil penalty to settle hundreds of Clean Water Act violations at six of its West Virginia mines, including pollution discharges that contributed to the Dunkard fish kill.

Mr. Frederiksen said investigators did not establish a cause-and-effect link between Mr. Shipman's alleged discharges and the fish kill. "You can't say he killed X number of fish. But did he play a role in compromising the quality of Dunkard Creek and other waterways in the area? No doubt about it."

Despite the charges, and despite the fact that a tip from a former state environmental regulator helped launch the investigation, the state Department of Environmental Protection had not suspended or revoked the company's waste transportation safety authorization as of late Thursday afternoon.

The company was open for business, according to its attorney. "Allan's Waste Water Service continues to operate on a day-to-day basis and serve its customers well," lawyer Christopher Capozzi said.

Katy Gresh, a DEP spokeswoman, said a permit review is under way. Dep staff first learned Thursday the extent of the allegations against Mr. Shipman and his company, she said. The investigation began after the Cecil Township Municipal Authority, which produces sludge byproduct from treating sewage, found discrepancies during an audit between the amount of sludge received by Mr. Shipman's company and the amount it disposed. More than 170,000 gallons of sludge were unaccounted for.

Mr. Shipman is also accused of overbilling his customers by falsifying manifests. and directing his workers to mix the various types of wastewater they hauled before delivering it to unsuspecting treatment plants. Mr. Shipman's company was paid by a variety of businesses to haul their waste. In some cases, waste was legitimately delivered to treatment plants, Mr.

Frederiksen said. But millions of gallons were not, he alleged. Mr. Shipman would sometimes charge companies for more than he actually hauled. And by having his drivers mix the wastes, he misrepresented what was being given to the treatment plants, the presentment said.

Mr. Shipman could not be reached. His wife declined to comment.

But Mr. Blackwell said his client was the victim of testimony to the grand jury by disgruntled former workers.

"They felt they weren't making enough money or they were fired by him because they weren't working the hours that they claimed," Mr. Blackwell said. Mr. Shipman turned himself in Thursday to state police. He was arraigned before posting a $50,000 bond.

Charges against Mr. Shipman include participating in a corrupt organization, criminal conspiracy, pollution of waters, money laundering and violation of the state's Clean Streams Law.

Jonathan D. Silver: jsilver@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1962.

Here is more from the Tribune-Review:

Drilling waste dumping alleged by Greene County man, company
By Paul Paterra
Friday, March 18, 2011
A Greene County businessman and his company were charged Thursday with illegally dumping of millions of gallons of gas drilling wastewater and sewage sludge across six Western Pennsylvania counties for more than six years, putting profit before pollution.
"It is one of the largest illegal dumping cases we've seen in recent history," said Nils Fredericksen, spokesman for the attorney general's office. "Certainly in our view, because of the volume involved, environmental damage was done."
Robert Allan Shipman, 50, of 1487 Toms Run Road, Holbrook, was charged with 98 criminal counts, including participating in a corrupt organization, criminal conspiracy, theft, forgery, receiving stolen property, pollution of waters, money laundering, tampering with public records and violations of Pennsylvania's Clean Stream Law, Solid Waste Management Act and Fish and Boat Codes.
His company, Allan's Waste Water Service Inc., is charged with 77 criminal counts for similar offenses.
Acting Attorney General Bill Ryan said Shipman orchestrated a scheme to dump waste products into streams, mine shafts and business properties across Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland counties. He is accused of stealing more than $250,000 from clients through an alleged overbilling scheme and the improper dumping.
An investigating grand jury reported Shipman and his company were hired by numerous businesses to haul and dispose of wastewater products, including production water from gas drilling operations, sludge from sewage treatment plants and grease water from restaurants.
Between 2003 and 2009, Shipman allegedly instructed drivers to mix various wastes together in what was referred to as a "cocktail," and then dump that mixture across the region, the grand jury said.
Ryan said the "cocktail" was used to conceal the true nature of the wastewater, allowing it to be disposed of in an improper manner, while increasing the volume of disposables billed to various customers.
The grand jury alleged that Shipman directed drivers to falsify manifests so he could bill customers for the full capacity of their trucks, regardless of how much waste was actually transported and disposed. He is accused of instructing other employees to shred and discard actual manifests in order to generate fraudulent invoices.
Shipman allegedly instructed drivers to leave their water valves open at gas wells, in order to allow production water to flow onto the ground and into nearby waterways, typically after dark or during heavy rains, to conceal the illegal discharge, Ryan said.
At other times, drivers were allegedly instructed to park their trucks in the garage at Shipman's business and dump the water into a floor drain, which leads directly to a nearby stream.
"It's important to make sure all of that gets disposed properly," Fredericksen said. "When somebody decides to take matters into their own hands, it's disturbing for us. We take environmental crimes very seriously."
Ryan said the Department of Environmental Protection and the Fish and Boat Commission assisted in the investigation.
"We learned today the extent of the allegations," said Katy Gresh, DEP spokeswoman. "We are reviewing them and making decisions about the potentially affected DEP permits."
Shipman was arraigned yesterday before Waynesburg District Judge D. Glenn Bates. He was released from the Greene County Prison after posting 10 percent -- or $50,000 -- of a $500,000 bond.
Shipman faces a preliminary hearing June 6 before Bates.

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