Luzerne County Prepares for Drilling Disaster
In preparation for Encana Oil & Gas USA’s plan to begin drilling a well at a site in Fairmount Township, the Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency has begun an emergency response plan in case of a drilling disaster. Town officials are working closely with the energy company to identify the protocol to handle any local natural gas drilling-related catastrophe that might occur.
According to an Encana spokesperson, the local firefighters and emergency responders are not responsible for containing or fighting a gas well fire or gas release at a well site, however, they will be asked to provide support to Enanca’s specially trained teams.
Encana admits that “risks are inherent in the oil and natural gas industry,” but that safety is their top priority. They will look to local emergency responders to secure and evacuate the immediate area, in an emergency, while the designated well-control company representatives are en route to the disaster site.
Barney Dobinick, who is also the Emergency Management Agency coordinator for Lake Township, feels “very comfortable” with the guidelines. Professionals from Luzerne and local counties attended a training event on a scenario to determine how all the resources can work together in the event of a catastrophe.
When the plan is complete it will be shared with area municipal officials for their approval and made available to the public. Dobinick anticipates a mid-June completion date.
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