Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Marcellus News for Pennsylvania, March 9th edition

On Feb. 27, the New York Times published a report on drilling-related contaminants in water supplies in Pennsylvania. The story is part of an ongoing series on the Marcellus that are worth a careful reading.

Reactions in the wake of the NYT story have been swift and are still coming in. Both environmental activists and industry boosters are now saying that more testing of water is needed, and the report is causing a lot of discussion and concern in the Susquehanna Valley region. In response to the story, the EPA says they are looking into  radioactive contaminants from fracking.

Not everyone is happy with the Times story. Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko (R-Chamber of Commerce) defended hydrofracking , saying, "The New York Times blatant misrepresentation of Pennsylvania gas regulations glosses over the robust programs in place to protect the people and the environment in Pennsylvania," Former Governor Ed Rendell and former DEP head honcho John Hangar also took exception to the report.

But the issue isn't just being covered by one newspaper. Tim Wheeler, a blogger down in Baltimore writing for the Sun, reports that fracking waste from PA has been shipped to one of that city's wastewater treatment plants. According to DelawareOnline, "Until the second half of last year, Pennsylvania had been the only state to allow most...wastewater to be discharged into rivers after only partial treatment." And the Philadelphia Inquirer has got in on the act (AKA journalism) and reports today that the DEP is using flawed statistics and records to tout the drilling industry's wastewater recycling efforts.

At least the radioactivity levels in seven state rivers are at or below acceptable levels, or so says the DEP.

But lets not give all the attention to wastewater problems: on March 1st, a 400 barrel gas collection tank caught fire in Washington County.

The Colcom Foundation's Board of Directors has awarded $900,000 of grants from a  $1.3 million Marcellus Environmental Fund 

State Sen. Gene Yaw (R) was heckled during a public forum on Marcellus drilling held at Bucknell.

Gov. Tom Corbett's nominee for environmental protection head defended the state's regulation of natural gas drilling last Wednesday.

Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley's says there is not even a remote chance Gov. Tom Corbett will approve a severance tax on the natural gas production in Pennsylvania.

Gov.Corbett's decision to lease mineral rights under park land is being lambasted by groups such as the Sierra Club.

The Delaware River Basin Commission will add a 30-day extension for public comment drilling regulations.

The National Park Service is looking to obtain mineral rights and update resource extraction regulations for its sites over the Marcellus Play.

Business and Operations
FBR Capital Markets claims that Marcellus operations will bring $250 billion to landowners and economic activity in Pennsylvania.

Chesapeake Energy claims that it has spent $92 million in the past year repairing and upgrading roads in Pennsylvania.

The CEO of Range Resources is talking up not only the Marcellus, but also possible gas resources in over and underlying strata.

The bankers are one group not having any issues with hydrofracking the Marcellus. Surprise, surprise.

United Vision Logistics has opened a terminal in Darlington, PA to service Marcellus operations.

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