US & World
Earlier this month, a Chevron natural gas well exploded in Greene County, Pennsylvania, killing one worker, injuring another, and sparking a fire that burned for four days. The company is still working to secure the facility, but it's already begun handing out compensation to nearby residents — in the form of free pizza and soda.
This week, residents near the fracking well began receiving letters from Chevron, along with a gift certificate for one large pizza and one two-liter drink from Bobtown Pizza. A company spokesperson tells Newsweek that the offer was "a token of appreciation for their patience during this time," though it struck many as tone-deaf.
"It felt like a huge slap in the face," one local told CNN. "I do not feel that they've addressed anything. I haven't even called their hotline yet because I'm just too upset. A pizza coupon? I mean come on!"
The cause of the explosion has yet to be determined, and the site continued to emit gas into the atmosphere even after the fire was put out. Those nearby described the incident as terrifying, with one comparing the sound to "a jet engine going 5 feet above your house." Smoke billowed into the sky for days, and the heat from the fire caused a nearby propane tanker to explode.
Western Pennsylvania has become a hotbed of fracking activity in recent years, though there are serious concerns over the industry's impact on the environment and human health. In 2011, Governor Tom Corbett said he wants to turn the state into the "Texas of natural gas."
In an update to its website Tuesday, Chevron said the situation at the fracking facility "remains serious and teams are working around the clock to safely approach and shut in the well." The company didn't explicitly apologize for the explosion in the letter sent to Bobtown residents this month, though it acknowledged the gravity of the incident and said it will continue to safeguard its operations going forward.
"Chevron recognizes the effect this has had on the community," the letter reads. "We value being a responsible member of this community and will continue to strive to achieve incident-free operations. We are committed to taking action to safeguard our neighbors, our employees, our contractors and the environment."
The pizza gift certificate expires on May 1st.
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