|This article is part of the FrackSwarm coverage of fracking.|
Range Resources is a Texas-based oil and gas company. It is involved in the controversial practice of fracking for methane gas in the Northeastern U.S. in the Marcellus Shale region. Range Resources owns the majority of the 1,386 wells in the Marcellus Shale formation, as of 2010. Though lauded as an environmentally-friendly alternative to coal, fracking for gas has been linked to depleting drinking water resources of local communities and polluting the wells of the people living around drill sites. According to a 2010 article in Vanity Fair, "as use of the technique (fracking) has spread, it has been followed by incidents of water contamination and environmental degradation, and even devastating health problems."  And according to data released to the EPA, Halliburton, a major supplier of fracking fluid, admitted using 807,000 gallons of diesel-based chemicals in its fluids, in violation of an agreement drillers had with the EPA.
Range Resources has the largest number of fracking sites in the Marcellus Shale region of the U.S and "occupied the first position in terms of gas production in the Marcellus Shale during the period of January to December 2009." It has been reporting annual revenues of between $744 million and $1.32 billion a year over the past five years, with gross profits of between $700 million and $1.26 billion a year in this period. Its CEO is one of the highest paid executives in the U.S., with an annual compensation of $7.4 million. Range Resources has been accused of numerous safety violations, including polluting rivers and spoiling drinking water by contaminating it with methane gas. Range Resources and its executives have also been very active in making partisan political donations, predominantly in favor of Republicans. This company, headquartered in Texas, has invested significant funds in elections in Pennsylvania, a state with large shale deposits, and its PAC was a major spender in the election of the new governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett.
|Type||Methane gas drilling and oil|
|Headquarters||Fort Worth, Texas|
|Number of locations||Canonsburg, PA; Abingdon, VA;Oklahoma City, OK|
Partisan Political Activity
Although Range Resources has donated to campaigns on both sides of the aisle since it began drilling in the Marcellus Shale area in 2004, the majority of its political donations has gone to pro-fracking Republicans. 2010 was the biggest year in gas and oil political contributions by corporations hoping to encourage lawmakers to continue with the lax restrictions surrounding methane gas drilling. Nowhere is this seen more than in Pennsylvania, where the majority of the Macellus Shale area lies. According to MarcellusMoney.org, a project of Common Cause PA and Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, $84,816 was given by Range Resources to candidates and political parties in 2010. The biggest chunk of that, $34,916.64, went directly to now Governor of Pennslyvania, Republican Tom Corbett, who supports a no-tax approach for corporations who want to frack. By comparison, $10,500 was given to Corbett's opposition, Democrat Dan Onorato, who supported a tax on methane drilling.
Corporate Political Action Committee
According to their official Web site, Range says "the Company maintains a non-political and non-partisan position. No Range funds or assets may be promised, committed, loaned or contributed to any political party or organization, or to any individual who holds or is a candidate for public office except when permitted by applicable law and pre-authorized by the General Counsel." However, it appears the companies General Counsel pre-authorized Range Resources to form a political action committee (PAC) in 2009 called Range Resources Energy Independence PAC. In 2010 alone, its PAC donated over $52,000 to political campaigns and organizations, with the majority of the funds going to known Republican supporters of methane drilling, like Republican Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania. 
To further sway Pennsylvania lawmakers, lobbyists and state officials, a blog called "The Morning Call" reported that Range hosted a Steelers Super Bowl party in Dallas, Texas, for a select few. "For those lucky enough to attend, you'll be among "Steelers fans, friends of Range Resources and even some Steeler greats," where you'll enjoy "a classic Texas BBQ, music and entertainment as we cheer on the Steelers to another Super Bowl championship," the invitation read.
Pennsylvania politicians are not the only state officials receiving funding from Range. In Virginia, the State site shows that $24,120 was donated to candidates and front groups between 2008-2010, almost all of which, $23,620, was contributed to Republican interests.
A chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, has stated that "Range Resources, with drilling rights to more than 1.4 million acres, is one of the biggest natural gas players in Pennsylvania, and is one of the most frequent campaign contributors as well. The company’s political arm gave to state Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods; Sen. John Rafferty, R-Montgomery; Sen. Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson; Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre; and Auditor General Jack Wagner, among others, in 2009. In turn, the biggest donors to the Range PAC are its top executives, such as Charles Blackburn (board of directors), John Pinkerton (CEO), Rodney Waller (chief of compliance) and Roger Manny (executive vice president)."
Political Donations by Company Execs
Board members and senior management have donated large amounts of money to Range Resources Energy Independence. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has reported that $195,726.97 was donated to either Range's PAC or political campaigns in Pennsylvania by individuals at the company. West Virginia's state donor site shows $21,750 in the 2009-2010 election season. Most of the money donated went to Republican political candidates in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Below is a list of the PAC's biggest contributors in 2009-2010 who are Range Resources Employees:
- David Poole - Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary - $27,500
- Roger Manny - Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President - $20,000
- Ray Walker - Senior Vice President, Marcellus Shale - $18,300
- Jeff Ventura - President, Chief Operating Officer, Director - $15,000
- Charles Blackburn - Corporate Director, Board of Directors - $15,000
- Richard Eales - Board of Directors, Lead Independent Director - $12,500
- John Pinkerton - CEO - $12,000
- Rodney Waller - Senior Vice President, Chief of Compliance - $11,000
- Charles Stephens III - Senior Vice President - $9,000
- Mark Whitley - Senior Vice President, Southwest and Engineering Technology - $5,000
- Alan Farquharson - Senior Vice President, Reservoir Engineering - $5,000
- Carl Carlson - Director of Governmental - $5,307
- Allen Finkelson - Board of Directors - $2,000
- Matt Curry - Director of Engineering - $2,000
(Similar searches were done for Texas, Virginia and New York but individual names were not found on the state sites.)
According to Common Cause's "Deep Drilling, Deep Pockets" report from May 2010, Range Resources spent the second most on lobbying, $492,974, in lobbying expenditures from 2007-2009--with only Dominion Power spending the most. Range has worked with the influential lobby firm Greenlee Partners, based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as well as Ridge Policy Group.
Range Resources is a supporter of several special interest groups that push for expanded drilling rights and limited or no regulation of fracking.
Range Resources is a member of: The Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association (PIOGA), The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), the Virginia Oil & Gas Association, the Ohio Oil & Gas Association, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, Petroleum Technology Transfer Council, and Energy In Depth.
Use of psy-ops
In October 2011, Sharon Wilson of Earthworks attended and taped a hydraulic fracturing conference, "Working Together As An Industry To Leverage Mass Media, Social Media & Community Support To Overcome Public Concern Over Hydraulic Fracturing". The tapes can be accessed here.
The tapes received media attention because of their content. CNBC reported several gas drilling executives can be "heard encouraging military tactics to counter anti-drilling activists and control the message in Pennsylvania."
- “We have several former psy-ops folks that work for us at Range because they’re very comfortable in dealing with localized issues and local governments. Really all they do is spend most of their time helping folks develop local ordinances and things like that. But very much having that understanding of psy ops in the Army and in the Middle East has applied very helpfully here for us in Pennsylvania.”
Chesapeake to Host EPA In Study of Fracking Risk
In January 2013 it was reported Chesapeake Energy Corp. agreed to let the Environmental Protection Agency conduct extensive tests at one of its drilling sites as part of an investigation into the safety of fracking. The testing, which will involve water sampling before and after drilling takes place, will serve as a cornerstone of a year-long EPA study to determine whether the process known as fracking poses a risk to water supplies.
Natural gas company Range Resources also may allow the EPA to work at one of its drilling sites, although an agreement has been held up by researcher liability concerns at a drilling site, a Range Resources spokesman said.
Claimed Violations of Safety Rules or Other Laws
Health and Safety Violations Alleged
As of May 2010, Range Resources has paid $219,875 in fines to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Below is a list, though not exclusive, of the bulk of the fines paid to Pennsylvania. As of yet, no fines have been paid in Texas or West Virginia, although the company did have to provide drinking water to residents in Parker County, Texas, after a state EPA study determined that methane and benzene contaminated local water supplies near a Range gas drilling site.
- 2011: Taking advantage of lenient zoning laws for drilling sites, Range Resources is accused of working without permits in the Pennsylvania Township of Cecil, where Range's Marcellus headquarters are located. The township is working to change its zoning ordinances, as of January 2011, in response to these concerns. "Under Pennsylvania law, drilling sites must be kept at least 200 feet from neighboring properties but there are few othter limitations in site location, if any," says an article by Sara-Summer Oliphant. Town supervisors in Cecil have proposed changing the zoning rules to "conditional use" in order to ensure that no sites are established next to schools, parks or on the border of South Fayette Township, where supervisors recently voted not to permit drilling. Township leaders asked Range Resources to take part in the process of the rewriting of the zoning ordinances, but the company was reportedly unresponsive as of February 2011.
- 2010: "The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection fined Range $141,175 for spilling about 250 barrels of diluted fracturing fluids into an unnamed tributary of Brush Run, Hopewell Township in 2009. The incident killed at least 168 small fish, along with salamanders and frogs, the agency said. Range said the spill resulted from a defective joint in a water transfer line."
- Additionally, in December 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency charged that gas drilling by the company in Texas had contributed to the methane contamination of at least two residential drinking water wells in Parker County, Texas. Range Resources denied the EPA's findings and is fighting the charges.  Bloomberg reported that "the EPA said Range allowed methane from natural-gas wells in Parker County, west of Fort Worth, to seep into two families’ water wells. The order requires Range to provide safe drinking water for landowners and fix the wells. The company could face a fine of as much as $16,000 a day, David Gray, an EPA spokesman, said."
- In response to the EPA charges in Texas, Range Resources disclosed data on the hazardous components in the fluid it uses to drill for gas in Pennsylvania. The Marcellus Effect blog says that "one thing you will notice is that Range is not using a long list of chemicals at each well – often five to seven products. The only problem I have with their reports is that they continue to list only the hazardous compounds listed on MSDS, not a complete listing of chemicals in the compounds. Their friction reducer, for example, they list as containing no hazardous compounds, so they are not disclosing any of those chemicals in their drilling reports to DEP, or to the citizens of PA."
- 2009: "In October, Pennsylvania fined Range Resources $23,500 for spilling nearly 5,000 gallons of wastewater, including hydraulic fracturing fluids, into a tributary of Cross Creek Lake, a protected watershed near Pittsburgh that contains some of the state's most robust fish populations," reported Propublica's Gas Drilling site. The spill happened on May 26 when screws became loose in a pipe. Just three weeks before the fines were announced, Range was penalized by the DEP for another accident -- this time for spilling more than 10,000 gallons of flowback water, which again resulted in a fish kill and a substantial cleanup effort."
- The Sierra Club Allegheny County reports that in May 2009, the Pennsylvania DEP ordered Range Resources and Chief Oil and Gas to suspend operations at two sites in Lycoming County for violating PA’s Clean Stream Law. The companies were withdrawing water from Hoagland Run and First Fork Larry’s Creek without having obtained the required permits." No fines were recorded, although the NEPA Gas Action Web site has a record of the violation, as well as all others on the region.
- 2014: The Pennsylvania state Department of Environmental Protection investigated two Range Resources gas fracking impoundment sites in Washington County at a Cecil Township and a Amwell Township site. Eleven thousand contaminated tons were removed at the Amwell site. 
- In August 2014 The state Department of Environmental Protection issued a violation to Range Resources because another gas fracking wastewater impoundment contaminated groundwater a a nearby river in Southwestern Pennsylvania in Washington County. These open pit leaked chloride and salt into groundwater.
- According to a motion filed in October 2015 in a Pennsylvania court by attorneys for Loren “Buzz” Kiskadden, Range Resources did not tell their neighbors in Amwell, Washington County they were dealing with contaminated water wells. A major issue of the complaint is Range Resources use of tracers. Tracers are chemical and low-level radio nuclei added to the hydraulic fracturing process to judge the success of the drilling project. Kiskadden's lawyers are trying to get information from the tracers to prove that the contamination in their client's water well is caused by a nearby 13.5 million gallon open wastewater pit.
- A West Virginia truck driver, Russell Evans, was splashed with flowback water at a Buffalo Township Pennsylvania Range Resources well site in May 2013. Evans claims that he was doused with water when he attempted to stop the leak, and was told by a Range Resources employee that the water was safe. He stayed in his wet clothes for four hours. Evans claims to have suffered from nausea, shortness of breath, indigestion, vertigo, headaches, skin discoloration, permanent sensitivity to sunlight, chemical burns, blisters, and rashes. In May 2015 he filed a suit against Range Resources. The complaint alleges Range Resources “kept the chemical makeup of the fracking fluid a secret.” 
- In 2012, three families filed a personal injury lawsuit in Washington County alleging health damages and increased risk of cancer due to exposure to toxic leaks, spills, and air pollutants from Range's fracking operations in Yeager Marcellus Shale, Pennsylvania. The plaintiffs allege that in September 2011 Range provided incomplete drinking water test results to the state DEP that omitted findings showing a high concentration of carcinogenic nitrate, plus fracking fluid, produced water, uranium, and silicon. Range has denied the charges. The U.S. Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have been working since March 2011 to assess health problems reported by residents living in the valley below Range's wastewater pond and a drill cuttings pit at the Amwell Township site.
- Class Action: In 2010, Range Resources settled with nearly 2,000 Pennsylvania landowners "of royalty interests in natural gas wells who could benefit by nearly $22 million, including $1.75 million in cash payments and lower charges for post-production costs such as gas gathering and processing," the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. The proposed agreement, filed in federal court in Erie, Pa., is subject to approval by U.S. District Judge Sean McLaughlin. No hearing date has been set for the royalty owners, many of whom are from Venango County in northwest Pennsylvania.
- Backwater Properties LLC and Aaron Johnson vs. Range Resources and Duncan Land and Energy Inc.: In 2010, more than 100 northern West Virginia property owners sued Range Resources for fraud because they said Range owed them money for natural gas leases signed in 2008. As of yet, there has been no settlement in this case.
In December 2010, the EPA determined that natural gas drilling by Range Resources near homes in Parker County, Texas caused or contributed to the contamination of at least two residential drinking water wells with "extremely high levels of methane," as well as benzene. The EPA ordered the company to step in immediately to stop the contamination, provide drinking water to the affected residents, and provide methane gas monitors to the homeowners. EPA also issued an imminent and substantial endangerment order under Section 1431 of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The EPA said it has data showing the presence of natural gas at the two wells, and ordered Range to investigate other nearby properties to determine if their drinking water is at risk.
In March 2012, the EPA withdrew its order requiring Range Resources to provide water for two North Texas families based on accusations that the company contaminated water wells. The EPA stated that its decision regarding Range Resources drilling in Parker County allowed the agency to shift the focus “away from litigation and toward a joint effort on the science and safety of energy extraction.”
Revenue, Profits, and Taxes
Range Resources paid income taxes of about 0.4 percent of pretax income from 2001 to 2011. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, Range Resources, Chesapeake Energy, and other U.S. oil and gas producers have been drawing upon a 1916 rule that allows them to expense “intangible drilling costs,” enabling them to postpone income taxes in recognition of the "inherent risk" of drilling wells that may turn out to be dry, which Bloomberg said "may be outdated for companies" due to fracking technologies.
2010 Annual figures not yet public, as of February 18, 2011.
- Revenue: 907.34 million
- Gross Profit: 860.44 million
- Revenue: 1.32 billion
- Gross Profit: 1.26 billion
- Revenue: 860.37 million
- Gross Profit: 814.58 million
- Revenue: 744.81 million
- Gross Profit: 700.72 million
Executives and Annual Compensation
- CEO John H. Pinkerton: $7,429,218 (This is one of the highest 200 salaries in the U.S., according to Forbes.)
- COO Jeffery Ventura: $5,546,479
- CFO Roger Manny: $3,014,992
- Sr. Vice President of Marcellus Shale, Ray. N. Walker: $3,782,109
- John H. Pinkerton: Board Chairman and CEO - Reuters states "Pinkerton became a director in 1988 and was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2008. He joined Range as President in 1990 and was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 1992. Previously, Pinkerton was Senior Vice President of Snyder Oil Corporation. Before joining Snyder in 1980, he was with Arthur Andersen. Pinkerton has been in the energy industry almost his entire professional career and founded and has guided the growth of Range for the last 30 years."
- Jeffrey L. Ventura: President and COO - "Ventura joined Range in 2003 and became a director in 2005. Previously, he served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Matador Petroleum Corporation which he joined in 1997. Before 1997, Ventura spent eight years at Maxus Energy Corporation where he managed various engineering, exploration and development operations and was responsible for coordination of engineering technology. Previously, he was with Tenneco Inc., where he held various engineering and operating positions."
- Roger S. Manny: Executive Vice President and CFO - "Manny joined Range in 2003. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Matador Petroleum Corporation from 1998 until joining Range. Before 1998, he spent 18 years at Bank of America and its predecessors where he served as Senior Vice President in the energy group."
- Ray. N. Walker: Sr. Vice President of Marcellus Shale - A former manager at Halliburton, Walker worked on the first shale well in 1982. He "joined Range in 2006 and was elected to his current position in February 2010. Previously, Walker served as Vice President – Marcellus Shale, where he led the development of the company’s Marcellus Shale division. Walker is a Registered Petroleum Engineer with more than 34 years of oil and gas operations and management experience, having previously been employed by Union Pacific Resources and several companies in which Walker served as an officer."
- Alan Farquharson: Sr. Vice President - Reservoir Engineering - He joined Range in 1998 and has held the positions of Manager and Vice President of Reservoir Engineering before being promoted to his senior position in February 2007. Previously, he has also held positions with Union Pacific Resources including Engineering Manager Business Development – International. Before that, Farquharson held various technical and managerial positions at Amoco and Hunt Oil.
- David Poole: Sr. Vice President - General Council and Corporate Secretary - Poole "joined Range in June 2008 and has over 21 years of legal experience. From May 2004 until March 2008 he was with TXU Corp., serving last as Executive Vice President – Legal, and General Counsel. Prior to joining TXU, Poole spent 16 years with Hunton & Williams LLP and its predecessor, where he was a partner and last served as the Managing Partner of the Dallas office."
- Chad Stephens: Sr. Vice President - Corporate Development - Stephens "joined Range in 1990. Before 2002, he held the position of Senior Vice President – Southwest. Previously, Stephens was with Duer Wagner & Co., an independent oil and gas producer for approximately two years. Before that, he was an independent oil operator in Midland, Texas for four years. From 1979 to 1984, Stephens was with Cities Service Company and HNG Oil Company."
- Rodney Waller: Sr. Vice President and Assistant Secretary - "Waller joined Range in 1999. He served as Corporate Secretary from 1999 until 2008. Previously, Waller was Senior Vice President of Snyder Oil Corporation. Before joining Snyder, he was with Arthur Andersen. Waller is a certified public accountant and petroleum land man."
- Mark Whitley: Sr. Vice President - Southwest and Engineering Technology - Whitley "joined Range in 2005. Previously, he served as Vice President – Operations with Quicksilver Resources for two years. Before joining Quicksilver, he served as Production/Operation Manager for Devon Energy. From 1982 to 2002, Whitley held a variety of technical and managerial roles with Mitchell Energy. Notably, he led the team of engineers at Mitchell Energy who applied new stimulation techniques to unlock the shale gas potential in the Barnett Shale formation in the Fort Worth Basin. Previous positions included serving as a production and reservoir engineer with Shell Oil.
380 Southpointe Blvd.
Canonsburg, PA 15317
406 W. Main St.
Abingdon, VA 24212
100 Throckmorton Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102
5600 N. May Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
Web site: http://www.rangeresources.com
Articles & Sources
- Beaver County Blue 
- Campaign Money.com
- Marcellus Shale.us
- Common Cause
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- "Chesapeake Energy to Host EPA in Study of Fracking Risk to Water" Dow Jones Newswire, January 24, 2013.
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- "Pennsylvania’s Gas Wells Booming—But So Are Spills", ProPublica.com, Jan. 27, 2010.
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- "New information surfaces in water well contamination complaint" Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 16, 2015.
- Emily Petsko, "Truck driver sues Range Resources over injury claims," Observer-Reporter, May 8, 2015.
- Don Hopey, "Federal agencies probe Range Resources' Yeager Marcellus Shale gas drilling site," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 9, 2012.
- "Range settles in Pennsylvania", The Fort-Worth Star-Telegram
- "Range settles Pennsylvania lawsuit", Fort Worth Star Telegram 2010
- "Range Resources Faces Lawsuit For Consumer Fraud", The Intelligencer Wheeling News-Register. Oct 18, 2010
- "EPA Issues an Imminent and Substantial Endangerment Order to Protect Drinking Water in Southern Parker County," EPA, December 2010.
- "EPA Backs Down From Fracking Contamination Order" Associated Press, March 30, 2012.
- Zachary Mider, Bradley Olson, Jesse Drucker and and Todd White, "Chesapeake’s 1% Tax Rate Shows Cost of Drilling Subsidy," Bloomberg, July 2, 2012.
- "Y Financial Charts"
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- " BusinessWeek Board Compensation"
- "Reuters Ventura Bio"
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- "Walker Bio"
- "Range Resources: Ray N. Walker"
- "Reuters Executive Bios"
- "Reuters Poole Bio"
- "Reuters Stephens Bio"
- "Reuters Waller Bio"
- "Reuters Whitley Bio"
- "Major PA Polluter Donates to Dan Onorato, Jim Corbett and Republican Party", Beaver County Blue, February 16, 2010
- "Campaign Money.com"
- "Marcellus Shale.us"
- "Common Cause.org"
- "Propublica Web site"