Fracking

Environment & Energy
12:49 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Power of 32 Kicks Off Energy Conference

More than 300 people filled a ballroom at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh Thursday to devise the framework for a regional energy development plan.

Representatives from more than 20 energy-related organizations led the event, trying to pinpoint key issues to address in the energy development plan.

Pittsburgh and the surrounding 32 county region have a long history of being energy innovators, according to Power of 32 Implementation Committee Chairman Greg Babe, but the area lacks vision and strategy.

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Environment & Energy
1:06 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Marcellus Life: How an Elk County Town Is Struggling with Shale Gas Drilling Rules

St. Marys officials walk past high-pressure pipe used for fracking at a Seneca Resources shale gas site in the city.
Credit Natasha Khan / PublicSource

About a dozen St. Marys officials, outfitted with baggy blue jumpsuits, earplugs and white plastic hard hats, recently visited a Seneca Resources well pad on a wooded hilltop to see what fracking is all about.

This part of Pennsylvania, about 120 miles northeast of Pittsburgh in Elk County, has been relatively untouched by shale drilling. But people see it coming in two test wells Seneca has there now, with more wells in the future.

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Environment & Energy
4:39 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

New Facility Turns Acid Mine Drainage into Water for Fracking

A holding pond containing acid mine drainage - that water goes through the tanks in the background, is treated and can potentially be used for oil and gas operations.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A new demonstration project in Sarver, about 30 miles outside Pittsburgh, is taking a decades-old problem and turning it into a possible solution for the natural gas industry. Winner Water Service has launched treatment facility that aims to clean up polluted water – and sell it to natural gas developers for use in fracking operations.

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Breast Cancer
2:13 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Activists Urge Susan G. Komen Cut Ties With Fracking Industry

Health and breast cancer awareness advocates delivered 150,000 petitions to the Susan G. Komen offices in Pittsburgh Friday, urging the nonprofit to cut ties with the oil and gas industry.

Groups, including Breast Cancer Action, New Voices Pittsburgh and Food and Water Watch, are urging Komen to refuse a $100,000 check from oil and gas extraction company Baker Hughes, which, according to Forbes.com, saw a net income of roughly $1.6 billion over the last 12 months.

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Fracking Health Impact
2:18 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Proposed Registry to Track, Respond to Fracking-Related Health Complaints

In 2011 the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission recommended a registry to collect health data from people living nearing fracking operations. Three years later that registry has yet to be created, and a state Senate panel says such a database is an important step toward tracking and responding to public health complaints related to gas drilling.

State Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) says individual health studies are fine, but the state needs to develop data that covers all parts of the commonwealth.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:03 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Can Living Near a Fracking Site Cause Health Problems?

Credit Ari Moore / Flickr

 A new study has found that residents in Western Pennsylvania living close to natural gas drilling sites were twice as likely to report health problems than those living farther away. We talk with the study's lead author Dr. Peter Rabinowitz, who says public health researchers surveyed nearly 500 adults and children in Washington County, southwest of Pittsburgh.

Essential Pittsburgh
5:00 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Zone of Influence: Money, Politics and Lobbying in the Fracking Industry

Credit 90.5 WESA

This week WESA and the Allegheny Front are airing a special series on hydraulic fracturing and state politics – specifically the money spent on lobbying.

We’ll speak with Allegheny Front reporter Reid Frazier and WESA Morning Edition Host Josh Raulerson whose investigation looks at the influence this money is having on Pennsylvania’s oversight of the natural gas boom.

Marcellus Shale
4:45 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Gov. Corbett, Consol CEO Offer Praise at Airport Drilling Kickoff

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald speaks with reporters in front of a natural gas well pad near Pittsburgh International Airport Monday.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

“Energy independence.”

“Shale revolution.”

These were the buzzwords used Monday morning as officials gathered for a ceremony marking the start of natural gas drilling activity near Pittsburgh International Airport.

The mood was festive — complete with music, appetizers, goodie bags and air conditioned portable restrooms — as Gov. Tom Corbett and Consol Energy President and CEO Nick DeIuliis prepared to take the podium.

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Environment & Energy
4:25 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Physician, Scientists, Engineer Group Urge Caution of Natural Gas Development Near Schools

A letter from the group Physicians, Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE) outlines concerns over natural gas development near schools.

The letter, sent to the Department of Environmental Protection, states that “there is a growing body of peer-reviewed science that provides significant evidence of public health risks” to fracking.

The Mars Parent Group, a grassroots organization opposed to drilling under school property, is highlighting the letter, which they say backs up their request for a two-mile buffer zone around the schools.

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Environment & Energy
9:59 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Report Suggests Some PA Well Operators Are In Violation Of Federal Law

Dozens of oil and gas companies across 12 states, including Pennsylvania, are using prohibited diesel fuels in hydraulic fracking, according to a report released Wednesday by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP).

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Environment & Energy
10:48 pm
Sun June 22, 2014

Survey: Public Distrusts Gas Industry And Anti-Fracking Film, 'Gasland'

Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox.
Credit Linh Do via Flickr

A new study shows the public views both the natural gas industry and the anti-fracking film, "Gasland," as among the least trustworthy sources of information when it comes to hydraulic fracturing.

According to a paper published last month in Energy Research and Social Science, people are more likely to trust information from university professors, environmental groups, newspapers, and landowner groups.

Regulatory agencies ranked fifth in trustworthiness among the eight possible choices. They were followed by cooperative extensions and the natural gas industry.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:11 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Silence On Shale Drilling

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.

But the economic advantages of drilling are counterbalanced by health concerns.

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.

Katie Colaneri of StateImpact Pennsylvania has been covering the story. She believes that the Department of Health’s policy came from higher up.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:02 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Reporters Promote Fracking Film by Setting Out on a Gasoline Free Road Trip

Public Herald founders Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman with a TESLA Model S. The two embark on a national tour of their documentary “Triple Divide” about fracking on June 21st. With TESLA’s Supercharger network they’ll cross the country using zero gasoline.
Credit Tod J Xelowski / Public Herald

Public Herald founders Melissa Troutman and Joshua Pribanic are setting off on a summer tour to call attention to hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking.

The journalists co-directed the documentary Triple Divide which deals with fracking in Pennsylvania. They’re taking the film to communities throughout the country that are dealing with their own fracking issues. And they're using a vehicle that doesn't need gasoline.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:28 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

The Allegheny Front Explores Water Contamination in a New Series

Freshly dumped Marcellus cuttings at landfill in Chemung County.
Credit Matt Richmond / The Allegheny Front

This weekend the environmental radio program The Allegheny Front begins a series on water contamination caused by fracking in the Marcellus Shale region. Reporter Reid Frazier said the series will address a suite of issues that have come up with fracking and water. The first topic, airing Saturday morning focuses on the issue of radiation. 

“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." 

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Community
3:00 am
Mon June 2, 2014

South Park Buildings Set To Be Demolished

South Park will be losing some long-standing but timeworn landmarks this summer.

At last week’s meeting of the South Park Council of Friends, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and District 6 Council Member John Palmiere announced plans to demolish five abandoned buildings in the park.

The Duck Pond House, McConkey House, McConkey Barn, Sedota House, and Schoonamaker Hall were built as part of South Park’s old fairgrounds; in the past, a county fair was held there every Labor Day weekend.

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Environment & Energy
3:30 am
Tue May 13, 2014

A Day In The Life Of A Water Bank

Pastor Lee Dreyer, along with Janet McIntyre, haul boxes full of water jugs out to clients as part of the Water for Woodlands water bank at the White Oak Springs Presbyterian Church in Renfrew, Pa.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

For two years, a Presbyterian Church near hard-to-pronounce Connoquenessing Township, Pa., has been a bank — a water bank to be precise.

The church distributes water to 34 families whose wells went bad around the time hydraulic fracturing started in the region. The coincidence can’t be proven, but residents of the Woodlands, a poor rural community in the township, said they can tell by taste, smell, color and skin reaction that their water hasn’t been right.

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Environment & Energy
7:03 pm
Sun May 11, 2014

Feds Consider Rules For Fracking Chemical Disclosure

Workers at a hydraulic fracturing site in Susquehanna County.
Credit Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The federal government is considering whether it should require companies to disclose the chemicals involved in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it is seeking public comments, a pre-curser to the more formal rule-making process. However, there is no guarantee that the EPA will draft regulations.

In the meantime, here’s what the agency says it wants to hear from the public:

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Marcellus Shale
6:49 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Allegheny County Council Votes To Allow Fracking Under Deer Lakes Park

At Tuesday's County Council meeting, environmental activists from Protect Our Parks unrolled a petition that they said contains the signatures of 7,500 people who oppose drilling under Deer Lakes Park.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

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.

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Marcellus Shale
7:02 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Allegheny County Council To Vote On Deer Lakes Fracking Tuesday

Allegheny County Council is set to vote Tuesday on whether to drill for natural gas underneath Deer Lakes Park.

The controversial resolution would allow Range Resources, in cooperation with Huntley & Huntley, to perform hydraulic fracturing under the park, provided that no drilling activities actually occur within the park.

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.

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Environment & Energy
11:59 am
Wed April 30, 2014

With No Health Registry, PA Doesn’t Know The Impact Of Fracking On Health

After more than five years and about 6,000 wells drilled in the Marcellus Shale boom, public-health experts say the need to collect information near fracking operations in Pennsylvania is urgent.

A health registry could show trends of illnesses, collect data and potentially answer the question of whether fracking is safe — a debate currently characterized by emotional arguments with little reliable information.

How will anyone in the state know the possible health impacts of hydraulic fracturing unless information is collected?

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Deer Lakes Park
3:06 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Drilling Opponent Wants Councilman To Withdraw From Deer Lakes Lease Proposal

One Etna resident thinks Allegheny County Councilman Nicholas Futules (D-Oakmont) should not be a part of the discussion about fracking under Deer Lakes Park.

Tim Ludwig, a Protect Our Parks member, has filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission.

He wants the Commission to force Futules to recuse himself from discussing or voting on the proposed extraction of natural gas underneath the 1,180-acre park.

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Fracking
2:57 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Mars Parents Want Two-Mile Fracking Buffer

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.

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PublicSource
10:51 am
Sun December 22, 2013

A New Pipeline From PA Fracking Fields Is Stirring Controversy in the Bluegrass State

Nolen Boone's family has owned his 120-acre farm in New Haven, Ky., for generations. Boone crawls around a cave that spiders for a mile under his property and that of two of his neighbors.
Credit Natasha Khan / PublicSource

The land agent first came knocking on Vivian and Dean House’s door in July. They sat on the patio of the retired couple’s 85-acre farm in this Central Kentucky town and chatted.

The guy was friendly, the kind of guy Dean could talk to about fishing.

He put the couple at ease and told them his company was interested in running a pipeline through their land. They were later offered more than $165,000 to sign easements.

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Natural Gas Drilling
4:04 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

PA High Court Strikes Down Zoning Limits on Drilling

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday struck down portions of a law that stripped some of the powers municipalities have to decide where the natural gas industry can operate — portions that the industry had sought from Gov. Tom Corbett and lawmakers.

The justices ruled the 2012 law unconstitutionally restricted the power of municipalities, although the 4-to-2 majority disagreed as to why it was unconstitutional.

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Environment & Energy
8:02 am
Tue November 26, 2013

To Clear the Air, Some in Susquehanna County Leave the Fracking Debate Behind

Neighbors Victoria Switzer and Ron Teel point to a natural gas compressor station on Teel's property in Dimock, Susquehanna County.
Credit Katie Colaneri / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Two years ago, Victoria Switzer and her neighbors had stopped speaking.

Switzer was one of the residents of Dimock who claimed natural gas drilling had ruined their water supplies. The small village in Susquehanna County became synonymous with flaming taps and jugs of muddy brown drinking water.

But the media blitz angered her neighbors, the Teels, who said it ignored the economic benefits of drilling.

The reporters, the activists and the industry haven’t gone away, but things have started to change.

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Environment & Energy
3:30 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Duquesne University Hosts Fracking Conference

More than two dozen researchers meet Monday at Duquesne University as part of a symposium on the latest findings regarding Marcellus Shale drilling.

Foundation-funded researchers from universities including Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Duke and Yale presented their independent research on topics such as air quality, human and animal health, effects on water treatment plants and local government response to shale gas development.

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Environment & Energy
4:03 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

In Pittsburgh, Corbett Says Shale Opponents Are 'Economic Development Deniers'

At a shale gas conference in Pittsburgh Thursday, Gov. Tom Corbett defended his policies promoting drilling in the state, and defended his own math, too.

Corbett, who is running for re-election, said drilling under his watch was responsible for a vast economic lift to the state. "More than 200,000 jobs have either been created, made more prosperous or made more secure" by the drilling boom brought on by fracking in Pennsylvania.

“That number of course seems to bother some out there," said Corbett.

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Allegheny County
3:44 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Macey: Fracking, Working with New Mayor on County Council Agenda

Democrats retained control of Allegheny County Council in Tuesday's election, but they did lose one seat (District 3) and now have a 10-5 majority.

County Councilman Bob Macey (D-9) won another four-year term and is looking ahead to issues in the upcoming year, including fracking on county property and building a relationship with Pittsburgh's mayor-elect Bill Peduto.

Macey said the decision to drill for natural gas on Allegheny Airport property is a great chance to observe the benefits fracking could bring to the region.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:05 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Discussing Municipal Bans on Fracking

Lynn Anderson, left, and Susie Beiersdorfer oppose fracking in Youngstown, Ohio
Credit Natasha Khan / PublicSource

In 2010, Pittsburgh was the first municipality in the nation to institute a ban on hydraulic fracturing. Many others have followed suit, including the boroughs of Baldwin, West Homestead and Wilkinsburg, as well as State College, PA.

Now citizens in Youngstown, Ohio are looking at the structure of Pittsburgh’s fracking ban in shaping a their own ordinances. PublicSource reporter Natasha Khan recently wrote about the ongoing debates in Youngstown as it pertains to jobs and environmental concerns.

Opponents of the Youngstown ban say it’s unconstitutional for a municipality to regulate beyond state and federal law. Similar objections have also been raised in Pennsylvania.

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Environment & Energy
2:41 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Ferlo Calls for Fracking Moratorium in PA

When lawmakers return to Harrisburg next week they will be faced with a new proposal to put a moratorium on new permits for hydraulic fracturing. 

State Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny) announced that he is introducing legislation during a news conference at the Allegheny County Courthouse Wednesday.

Senate Bill 1100 would also create a commission to analyze the agricultural, economic, environmental and social effects of Marcellus Shale drilling.

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