By Investigative Post
COUDERSPORT – Terry Pegula cashed in when he sold the bulk of his hydrofracking business in 2010 for $4.7 billion. He used a chunk of the change to buy Buffalo’s two major league teams, and made it clear when he purchased the Sabres that he was in it for the sports, not the money.
“If I want to make some money, I’ll go drill another well,” he quipped at a press conference.
Pegula is, in fact, drilling other wells.
He started another fracking company – JKLM Energy, drawing on the first letters of his children’s names – and has been drilling the past three years around Coudersport, Pa., once known as the home of John Regis and his now-bankrupt Adelphia Cable.
While widely regarded as a benevolent figure in Buffalo – or, Pegulaville, as some have dubbed the city – his fracking company is held in lower regard in some quarters in Coudersport. His fracking wells have punctured the quiet, pristine countryside and been cited for more violations of state regulations per active well than any operator in the state in recent years, according to a report released last spring.
“The company has had repeated problems properly constructing and operating wells and was cited for polluting water, including groundwater contamination,” according to PennEnvironment, a watchdog organization critical of the fracking industry.
Public records show the state Department of Environmental Protection cited JKLM Energy for 62 regulatory violations found during 20 inspections since 2015, assessing $508,317 in fines in the process. Violations include the improper design and construction of wells, use of unapproved chemicals and contamination of water supplies.
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