Contractor pleads in NW Pa. well-plugging case

Natural gas drilling

ERIE, Pa. (AP) – A contractor has pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge that he lied to the government in saying that he had plugged abandoned northwestern Pennsylvania oil wells in accordance with environmental regulations.

The Erie Times-News reports that 45-year-old Ronald A. Wright of Pleasantville pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Erie to one count of “false writing or document to the government.”

Federal prosecutors said Wright, an employee of Pleasantville-based S&T Services and Supply Inc., filed false certificates that environmental regulators relied upon to approve an injection well Elk County.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marshall Piccinini said Wright had plugged 95 wells over seven years and a sample testing of nine wells showed all had “irregularities,” so all 95 will likely have to be re-plugged.

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