US Fracking Well Operator Indicted for Alleged Water Pollution Cover-Up

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The owner of a hydraulic fracturing well faces charges after trying to cover up disposal of contaminated waste water.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The owner of a hydraulic fracturing well in North Dakota faces 13 felony charges after trying to cover up disposal of contaminated waste water, the US Department of Justice said in a press release.

“Jason A. Halek… was indicted in federal court in Bismarck, North Dakota, on 13 felony charges stemming from the operation of a saltwater disposal well near Dickinson, in Stark County, North Dakota,” the Justice Department said on Monday.

Saltwater is waste water from toxic drilling fluids used during fracking.

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Halek was charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the Safe Drinking Water Act and defraud the United States. He was also charged with four counts of violating the Safe Drinking Water Act, four counts of making false statements and four counts of obstructing grand jury proceedings, the release said.

“Our nation’s energy independence and security is …undermined when laws are abused in a race to profit,” Assistant Attorney General John Cruden in the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division said in the statement.

According to the indictment, Halek conspired with others in a number of coordinated and illegal acts, including injecting saltwater into the well without first having the state of North Dakota witness a test of the well’s integrity, the release said.

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