Friday, October 7, 2011

Marcellus News for Pennsylvania Update: Sep. 28-Oct. 6

Laser pays lobby penalty
The state Ethics Commission levied the penalty of $1,995 against Laser Northeast Gathering Co. LLC for being nearly two months late in filing the report covering the fourth quarter of 2010. The commission approved a consent agreement with the firm earlier this week. Laser has already made payment.
Community Discussion Showcases Job Training and Workforce Development for Pennsylvania's Natural Gas Industry
Local residents in Youngwood, Pa. joined Congressman Tim Murphy, area leaders, educators and businesses today for a community discussion on natural gas training programs, the impact of workforce development in the region, and the natural gas industry's commitment to safe and responsible development of the Marcellus Shale. The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) and America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) jointly hosted the public event held at Westmoreland County Community College (WCCC).
W. Pa. county 3rd highest jobs gain in nation
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that two western Pennsylvania counties were among the top ten in the nation for employment gains in large counties, between March 2010 and March 2011.
Washington County was third, with 4.3 percent growth, and Butler County was sixth, at 4.2 percent. Elkhart, Ind. was on top at 6.2 percent.
Group hopes drillers will agree to spare parks

A Pennsylvania environmental-advocacy group has come up with a plan to keep natural-gas drillers from bringing their rigs, trucks, pipelines, and noise into pristine state parks.
The short version: Get them to pledge not to do it.
Responsible truckers run over in gas rush

The Marcellus gas rush has had a reviving effect on many local industries, but probably none have benefited as much as the trucking business in Pennsylvania.
The process of installing a gas pad and fracking a well require thousands upon thousands of truck trips, hauling equipment and water to remote sites largely inaccessible by any other means of transportation. Over my years covering the issue, I've spoken with dozens of owners of local trucking companies who have said their business has doubled or tripled since the gas companies arrived in the commonwealth.
Their success, however, has been blunted by the arrival of fly-by-night trucking companies, largely run by out-of-state owners looking to make a quick buck on the Marcellus boom, according to local truckers.
Ample supply of natural gas to lower most heating bills this winter
Heating costs for homeowners using natural gas will be lower or stable this fall, a comforting thought as Western Pennsylvania heads into a chilly weekend.
Equitable Gas set its quarterly rate for the fuel at $6.51 per thousand cubic feet, or mcf, starting today. That's down from $7.35 a year ago and $14.45 from fall 2008, when natural gas costs shocked homeowners.
Gas boom means little space for Pa. flood victims
Pennsylvania residents who lost their homes to Tropical Storm Lee more than three weeks ago are having a tough time finding affordable housing, or any housing at all, because workers in the area's natural gas drilling boom have filled nearly every room.

Last month's record flooding has worsened a housing crunch in north central and northeastern Pennsylvania, where a surge in drilling over the past few years has led to housing shortages and skyrocketing rents. Flood victims say that available units are few, and federal disaster assistance doesn't come close to paying the rent on the scattered vacancies that are left.
Shale Gas Producers Going the Extra Environmental Mile, Range Exec Says
Natural gas and oil exploration and production companies have heeded the call to improve transparency and institute better practices in the fast-developing shale resources, but there's more to do as the shale phenomena gets up close and personal in communities all across the continent, according to a Range Resources Corp. executive.
The industry as a whole also has "picked up the ball in best practices," Range Senior Vice President Ray N. Walker Jr. told NGI’s Shale Daily in an interview recently...Unless someone can show us a better way to grow value for our shareholders, we'll stick to the path we've been on.
Drill Fee Proposed for Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett proposed a fee on natural-gas drilling of as much as $160,000 a well in an effort to find a middle ground between public support for assessing drillers in the booming Marcellus Shale basin and a campaign pledge not to impose taxes.

Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Impact Fee: Day Two
More reac­tion and analy­sis on Gov­er­nor Corbett’s pro­posed impact fee on nat­ural gas drillers.
The Post-Gazette reports envi­ron­men­tal groups aren’t thrilled with the idea, even though it includes pro­vi­sions like increased set­backs between wells and water­ways, and stricter penal­ties for drillers.
Breaking down Corbett's drilling fee proposal

On Monday, Gov. Tom Corbett made a long-awaited announcement giving his blessing to allowing Pennsylvania's counties impose an impact fee on Marcellus Shale drillers.
The fee would let counties charge $40,000 per well in the first year, $30,000 in the
second year, $20,000 in the third year and $10,000 in the fourth through tenth
years, adding up to a potential total of $160,000 per well.
The impact fee revenues will be split, with 75 percent being retained at the local
level and 25 percent of the fee divided among state agencies.
Of the local money, 36 percent would got to the county, 37 percent would be distributed to municipalities with actual drilling and 27 percent would be distributed to all the municipalities within a Marcellus drilling impacted county.
WVU Researcher to Map Methane Sources in Monongahela-Area Drinking Water
Oil and gas operators and residents in the Marcellus shale region have become aware that drinking water can contain dissolved methane. But did it come from hydraulic fracturing, previously abandoned wells or from some other source?
Now a West Virginia University researcher is gathering data to help answer that question for aquifers in the Monongahela River watershed.
Newspapers seek opening of Marcellus lawsuit settlement

Washington County Judge Paul Pozonsky is questioning whether the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Washington Observer-Reporter newspapers have the right to intervene in a Marcellus Shale case that was settled in his chambers in August.
The Post-Gazette asked the judge to unseal the settlement between the plaintiffs, Stephanie and Chris Hallowich of Mount Pleasant Township and various defendants including Range Resources Corp. and MarkWest Energy Partners and Energy Group.
 Tea and gas don't mix well 
The Northeast Pennsylvania Tea Party is launching robo-calls, bashing congressmen Tom Marino, R-10, of Cogan Station, and Lou Barletta, R-9, of Hazleton, diehard conservative Republicans who have often identified themselves as members of the Tea Party.
In fact, it’s their Tea-esque rhetoric that helped get them elected, many observers have said.
So, why would the herd be turning against their own?
Two words: Natural gas

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