Marcellus Shale en US Energy Secretary Hears from Pittsburgh on Natural Gas Future <p>As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Department of Energy is holding meetings across the country on infrastructure needs for the natural gas industry.</p><p>On Monday the, the seventh such meeting, the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) Public Meeting, was held in Pittsburgh. The day-long meeting focused on key infrastructure needed for transmission, storage and distribution of energy – especially natural gas, which continues boom, especially in this region.</p> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 18:37:56 +0000 Deanna Garcia 32952 at US Energy Secretary Hears from Pittsburgh on Natural Gas Future DEP Reviewing Thousands of Comments on Overhaul of Drilling Regulations <p>Pennsylvania environmental regulators are wading through more than 25,000 public comments on<a href=""> a proposed overhaul</a> of the state’s oil and gas regulations.</p> Fri, 27 Jun 2014 20:23:32 +0000 Mark Nootbaar 31707 at Silence On Shale Drilling <p>Over the past six years, more than 6,000 Marcellus Shale wells have been constructed in Pennsylvania, making the Keystone State the fastest growing natural gas producer in America.</p><p>But the economic advantages of drilling are counterbalanced by health concerns.</p><p>Two retirees from the Pennsylvania Department of Health recently said its employees were silenced on the issue of Marcellus Shale drilling. The two retirees, a community health nurse and a staffer in the Bureau of Epidemiology, say that staff at state health centers and district offices were instructed not to return calls from residents who expressed concerns about natural gas development.</p><p>Katie Colaneri of StateImpact Pennsylvania <a href="">has been covering the story</a>. She believes that the Department of Health’s policy came from higher up. Fri, 20 Jun 2014 21:11:36 +0000 Essential Pittsburgh 31286 at The Allegheny Front Explores Water Contamination in a New Series <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">This weekend the environmental radio program </span><a href="" style="line-height: 1.5;">The Allegheny Front</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> begins a series on water contamination caused by </span>fracking in the Marcellus Shale region<span style="line-height: 1.5;">. Reporter </span><a href="" style="line-height: 1.5;">Reid Frazier</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> said the series will address&nbsp;</span>a suite of issues that have come up with&nbsp;fracking&nbsp;and water<span style="line-height: 1.5;">.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The first topic, airing Saturday morning focuses on the issue of radiation.&nbsp;</span></p><p>“When the waste comes into the landfill, the waste does go through a radiation detector, a scintillating detector. These levels are certainly higher than you want at your local landfill."&nbsp;</p><p> Fri, 20 Jun 2014 20:28:40 +0000 Essential Pittsburgh 31291 at The Allegheny Front Explores Water Contamination in a New Series Policy Group Adds Name to List of Those Calling for Gas Extraction Tax <p>As Pennsylvania lawmakers grapple with finalizing the state budget, and face a financial shortfall, lawmakers and outside groups are calling for a severance tax on the natural gas industry to increase revenues.</p> Mon, 09 Jun 2014 19:26:21 +0000 Deanna Garcia 30608 at As Marcellus Shale Boom Continues, Public Perception Remains A Challenge For Industry <p>Thousands of people with ties to the natural gas industry are gathered in Pittsburgh this week for the Developing Unconventional Gas, or DUG East Conference.</p><p>With ongoing debate around natural gas development, one of the key areas of focus is changing public perception. Environmental groups and anti-fracking groups are concerned about how fracking affects water supplies and the environment and also about long-term effects of the technology. Some allege that industry officials put profits before people.</p><p>The Consumer Energy Alliance said that’s not the case.</p> Wed, 04 Jun 2014 19:22:20 +0000 Deanna Garcia 30372 at Range Resources Stores Radioactive Sludge in Washington County <p>Two drilling pads in Washington County are storing Marcellus Shale drilling sludge with radioactivity levels that are too high for regular disposal.</p><p>According to John Poister, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) spokesman, drilling company Range Resources sent the department a request for a Department of Transportation exemption form March 1<sup>st</sup>.</p><p>The form would allow Range Resources to move waste that has a “higher than background radiation level” - meaning that it is a higher level than the radiation that is usually found in the environment.</p> Wed, 28 May 2014 17:48:28 +0000 Jessica Nath 29978 at Ohio House Approves Raising Severance Tax For Oil And Gas <p>The Ohio House of Representatives has voted to increase the state severance tax on oil and gas from less than 1 percent to 2.5 percent. As Pennsylvania continues to debate whether it, too, should impose a severance tax on the booming Marcellus Shale play, some Ohio democrats say the proposed hike is not good enough.</p><p>Republican Gov. John Kasich wanted a bigger tax hike, as well. But Ohio Rep. Matt Huffman, who sponsored the bill, said he ended up with 2.5 percent because “that was what I thought we could get done. That was what all parties could agree to.”</p> Mon, 19 May 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Irina Zhorov 29352 at Construction Commences On Marcellus Shale Power Plant <p>Construction for the first power plant deliberately located on the Marcellus Shale formation began Thursday.</p><p>“Panda Power Funds Liberty Energy Center is the first power plant in Pennsylvania specifically developed to harness potential Marcellus Shale gas formation,” Gov. Tom Corbett said at the groundbreaking.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The 829-megawatt natural gas-fueled power plant will be located in Asylum Township in Bradford County.</span></p> Fri, 16 May 2014 19:29:49 +0000 Jessica Nath 29355 at Construction Commences On Marcellus Shale Power Plant Fracking Under Deer Lakes Park Is A Go, So What Happens Next? <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has signed an ordinance allowing hydraulic fracturing to occur underneath Deer Lakes Park.</span></p><p>Matt Pitzarella, spokesman for <a href="">Range Resources</a>, the company tasked with the drilling, said lawyers from the county and Range are still working out some technical details of the lease, but that it will be finalized soon.</p> Mon, 12 May 2014 20:05:28 +0000 Liz Reid 29088 at Fracking Under Deer Lakes Park Is A Go, So What Happens Next? Stack Proposes Marcellus Shale Severance Tax <p>Another Marcellus Shale drilling policy, which includes a 5 percent severance tax, is being proposed by a Philadelphia lawmaker.</p><p>State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia) announced last week that his legislation would impose an extraction tax which would overlap the existing impact fee, a policy that mirrors West Virginia law. The Corbett administration and Republican-controlled Legislature have resisted a severance tax.</p><p>Citing a report by Reuters, Stack said Pennsylvania stands to lose more than $20 billion over the next 20 years if a severance tax is not adopted.</p> Mon, 12 May 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Michael Lynch 28866 at Allegheny County Council Votes To Allow Fracking Under Deer Lakes Park <p>In a heated meeting that lasted more than seven hours and included more than four hours of public comment, members of Allegheny County Council early Wednesday morning approved a lease agreement to drill for natural gas underneath Deer Lakes Park.</p> Wed, 07 May 2014 10:49:57 +0000 Liz Reid 28810 at Allegheny County Council Votes To Allow Fracking Under Deer Lakes Park Allegheny County Council To Vote On Deer Lakes Fracking Tuesday <p>Allegheny County Council is set to vote Tuesday on whether to drill for natural gas underneath Deer Lakes Park.</p><p>The controversial resolution would allow Range Resources, in cooperation with Huntley &amp; Huntley, to perform hydraulic fracturing under the park, provided that no drilling activities actually occur within the park.</p><p>County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said if the resolution passes, the county will receive around $7.7 million up front and an ongoing 18 percent royalty on the value of gas extracted.</p> Mon, 05 May 2014 23:02:39 +0000 Liz Reid 28738 at Report Details Effects of Gas Drilling <p>The effects of natural gas drilling under state forests aren’t being ignored, according to a report from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).</p><p>The department’s first Shale Gas Monitoring Report, released Wednesday, outlines its efforts through 2012 to monitor the impacts of gas development on water, air, energy, forest health, soils and wildlife.</p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 20:06:04 +0000 Julian Routh 27740 at Mars Parents Want Two-Mile Fracking Buffer <p>The fight over placing a nonconventional gas well about a half-mile from five Mars Area School District schools has moved out of the district’s boardroom and into the boardrooms of a pair of local townships.</p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 18:57:52 +0000 Mark Nootbaar 27608 at New Way to Pay for Affordable Housing Proposed <p>Sen. John Blake has purposed a new way of paying for the housing trust fund which is intended to pay to repair and build affordable houses across Pennsylvania, except it has no money.</p><p>Act 105 was passed in 2010, but the counties have had a hard time using its provisions due to the lack of funds. Currently payments are to come from Marcellus Shale impact fee, but Blake says it is never getting there. Instead, he wants to add fees to real estate related legal filings.</p> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 23:09:59 +0000 Jess Lasky 27049 at Results Mixed In 2012 Natural Gas Drilling Emissions Data <p>The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has released <a href="">annual emissions data</a> for Marcellus Shale natural gas production for 2012. Emissions are tracked each year in an effort to assess air quality in the state. &nbsp;</p><p>“The data shows two decreases and four increases in pollutant categories from natural gas emissions,” said DEP spokeswoman Morgan Wagner. “However, overall, total air contaminate emissions across the state have continued to decline.”</p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 17:19:21 +0000 Deanna Garcia 27033 at Report Says PA Gas Drilling Taxes Are Low <p>A new report from a nonpartisan office of the state legislature says that Pennsylvania's taxes on the natural gas drilling boom are among the lowest in the nation.<br /><br />The figures released Thursday by the Independent Fiscal Office found that Pennsylvania is the only state with significant production that doesn't impose a severance tax based on the volume of gas produced.<br /> Fri, 21 Mar 2014 19:31:48 +0000 The Associated Press 26264 at Fitzgerald Faces Council, Activists Over Deer Lakes Gas Drilling Deal <p>Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald delivered his quarterly state of the county address Tuesday night and had plenty of praise for county departments.</p><p>Fitzgerald acknowledged public works for its handling of the roughest winter weather in recent memory, the health department for its successful efforts to improve air quality in the county and the medical examiner’s Office for a recent national award it received for ballistics work.</p> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 11:48:48 +0000 Liz Reid 26092 at Fitzgerald Faces Council, Activists Over Deer Lakes Gas Drilling Deal Policy Researchers Urge PA, OH and WV Governors to Adopt Common Tax for Oil and Natural Gas <p>Policy and research groups from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio have joined forces to urge their states’ governors to adopt a common severance tax rate for companies drilling for gas and oil in the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations.</p> Mon, 10 Mar 2014 20:25:41 +0000 Liz Reid 25610 at CMU's Cohon to Head Energy Institute <p>A former president of Carnegie Mellon University is bringing his clout and his ability to raise money to a relatively new institute on campus designed to explore the intersection of energy use, production and policy.</p><p>Starting July 1, CMU President Emeritus and University Professor Jared Cohon will add to his business card the title of Scott Energy Institute Director.</p> Wed, 19 Feb 2014 20:48:39 +0000 Mark Nootbaar 24665 at Chevron Marcellus Shale Well Still Burning in Greene County <p>State environmental officials and expert firefighters brought in by Chevron have been continuing to monitor a burning Marcellus Shale natural gas well in southwestern Pennsylvania.<br /><br />The well about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh in Dunkard Township erupted into flames shortly before 7 a.m. Tuesday, injuring one worker and leaving one still unaccounted for early Wednesday.<br /><br />State Department of Environmental Protection officials say the fire may burn for days, delaying efforts to determine its cause.<br /> Wed, 12 Feb 2014 14:57:06 +0000 The Associated Press 24302 at What Happened to DCNR’s $6 Million Marcellus Monitoring Report? <p>After spending more than three years and $6 million to monitor how gas drilling is affecting public forests, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has yet to release the information, and environmental groups are beginning to raise questions.<br /><br />In late 2010, the Rendell administration launched the program– touting it as one of the most aggressive monitoring initiatives by a public agency in the nation.<br /><br />More than three years later, under the Corbett administration, DCNR has so far refused to share its findings with the public.</p> Mon, 27 Jan 2014 22:40:25 +0000 Marie Cusick | StateImpact Pennsylvania 23460 at What Happened to DCNR’s $6 Million Marcellus Monitoring Report? Energy Alliance: Fracking Is Not a 'Four-Letter Word' <p>An energy supply and consumption watchdog group is taking its fight against a proposed moratorium on shale drilling in Pennsylvania to the lawmakers sponsoring the bill and to their constituents.&nbsp;</p><p>The Consumer Energy Alliance sent a letter to State Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny) asking him to pull the legislation from consideration.&nbsp; SB 1100 was introduced in September and was referred to the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee where it has languished ever since.</p> Mon, 13 Jan 2014 18:32:10 +0000 Mark Nootbaar 22763 at Allegheny County Health Department Celebrates Fracking Regulatory Victory <p>The Allegheny County Health Department is celebrating a legislative victory that will allow them to more effectively monitor air and water pollution.</p><p>In December, County Council passed a law that requires companies performing hydraulic fracturing within the county to notify the Health Department as each phase of the process begins.</p> Wed, 08 Jan 2014 22:14:48 +0000 Liz Reid 22543 at