Monday, March 28, 2011

Penn. Marcellus News Roundup, March 28

In a blistering op-ed, Josh Fox takes Corbett aide Teddy Borawski, chief oil and gas geologist, to task for the latter's comparison of Fox's Gasland to Nazi propaganda.

A company called Aquatech International is promoting and testing a portable water testing system that "could drastically reduce water consumption and truck traffic while providing recycled distilled water at Marcellus Shale drilling sites across Southwestern Pennsylvania."

The DEP has suspended the licenses of Tri-County Waste Water Management and Allan’s Waste Water Service due to the indictment of the companies' owner, Robert Allen Shipman, for illegally disposing wastewater, mixing wastes from different industries, falsifying records and overcharging customers.

Republican Rep Bill Shuster is fighting efforts to federally regulate Marcellus drilling through the proposed FRAC Act. Furthermore he "... also encouraged companies and industry organizations to hire teams of young, media-savvy people, pack them in cars and send them to meet with small-town newspaper editors, publishers and reporters to promote positive messages about the industry." What an asshole.

Pennsylvania General Energy Co has agreed to pay a $25,000 settlement to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) instead of fines and damages resulting from illegal dumping of chemicals into Lycoming County’s Pine Creek.

Politics and Policy
Governor Corbett is sticking to his hard-line stance against taxing Marcellus operations.

Despite Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley's remarks predicting riches for all and negligible environmental consequences from gas shale drilling, the new Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission was confronted over environmental issues related to gas shale drilling at the first public meeting of the panel.

Richard Allan, director for Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware members of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and a former lobbyist, will be nominated by Gov. Corbett to head the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which manages the state lands the governor will open to drilling.

David Yoxtheimer, a hydrogeologist from Penn State and a researcher with the university’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research says companies hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale recycle about two-thirds of the wastewater that returns to the surface. He made these remarks during the annual Northeast Section meeting of the Geological Society of America in Pittsburgh. The abstract of his presentation can be found here.

Business and Operations
A federal judge in Erie has approved a class-action settlement between Texas-based Range Resources and about 25,000 Pennsylvania landowners who claim the gas drilling firm improperly calculated royalty payments.

In other news, Range Resources is selling assets in Texas in order to finance more Marcellus operations.

The firm Burleson Cooke announced that they will add eight attorneys to their Pittsburgh office, strengthening their litigation practice on the behalf of Marcellus operators.

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