Marcellus Shale

The National Map, U.S. Geological Survey

A new study from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) delineates how the construction of new roads and pipelines for Marcellus Shale natural gas development and other energy industries can mince up local forests, leading to smaller ecosystems and limiting wildlife.

Using aerial imagery, USGS researchers found that developers laid 140 miles of new roads and eight miles of new pipelines for the sake of 647 Marcellus Shale gas wells drilled in Allegheny County from 2004 to 2010.

Gov. Tom Corbett has announced Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Mike Krancer is stepping down April 15. He plans to return home to Montgomery County to practice law.

Corbett appointed Krancer in 2011, and since then the DEP has had to oversee the booming Marcellus Shale industry.  

“Serving Governor Corbett and DEP has been the greatest honor of my career,” Krancer said. “I am grateful to the governor for giving me this role is assuring that natural gas and energy development happen in an environmentally sound and responsible manner.”

A new Pittsburgh-based nonprofit organization has been created to independently certify companies that develop shale natural gas based on their adherence to 15 pollution control standards.

The Center for Sustainable Shale Development was created with funding and input from southwestern Pennsylvania foundations, gas companies and environmental groups.

"Unusual bedfellows in this day and age, to be sure," said Robert Vagt, president of the Heinz Endowments.

A Washington County  judge says the public has the right to see a sealed settlement between gas drilling companies and a family that claimed the drilling operations damaged their health.

Judge Debbie O'Dell-Seneca ruled Wednesday that openness in the court system is more important than the interests of the companies.

Fed Beige Book Mentions PA Drilling Impact

Mar 7, 2013

The U.S. Federal Reserve's latest survey of regional economic trends is mentioning the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom.

The Fed's latest Beige Book issued Wednesday mentions that Pennsylvania banks see customers paying down loans with natural gas royalty money. In neighboring Ohio the Fed says shale gas activity is expanding at a robust pace, but some auto dealers are worried they're lose technicians to energy companies.

Water Quality Monitors Wanted

Mar 6, 2013

3 Rivers Quest monitors water quality in rivers, tributaries and headwater streams that drain more than 25,000 square miles in five states.  Local watershed groups may apply for grants up to $7000 to help collect samples.  The four geographical regions and those partnering with West Virginia University in the project are the Monongahela (West Virginia Water Research Institute), Upper Ohio (Wheeling Jesuit University), Southern Allegheny (Duquesne University) and Northern Allegheny (Iron Furnace Chapter of Trout Unlimited).

Rana Xavier/Flickr

Acid mine drainage is the most widespread water pollution problem in Pennsylvania. When water wells up inside abandoned coalmines, it leaches the iron compound ‘pyrite’ from the rock to form an acidic, sulfuric brine — called “yellowboy” for its color. As the pressure builds in the empty, underground mines, it often begins to seep out, the risk of a blowout increases, and, at times, the yellowboy could end up flowing into the nearest stream and killing wildlife.

Democratic State Senators have a few problems with Governor Tom Corbett's proposed budgets for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

First of all, State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) said DCNR's budget is too dependent on royalties garnered from Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling in state forest land. While $53 million of the DCNR budget comes from the state's General Fund, roughly $77 million comes from royalty fees on gas extraction.

Act 13 Debated at Pitt Symposium

Feb 28, 2013

Pennsylvania's law governing Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania, has made headlines because of its zoning rules, how it treats municipalities, and whether it is constitutional.

Corey Seeman/Flickr

The Allegheny County Council has given approval to a contract to drill for natural gas and oil at Pittsburgh International Airport.  Council voted 9-4 with one abstention Tuesday night to approve the contract with Consol Energy Inc.

The deal comes with a $50 million up front signing bonus.  Once Consol starts drilling it will give the county 18% of the revenue generated by production at the site.  It has been estimated that could amount to as much as $450 million over the next 20 years.

Long-term Marcellus Shale Study Underway

Feb 19, 2013
Ari Moore / Flickr

Geisinger Health System is using a $1 million grant to study the impact Marcellus Shale drilling has on people's health.

The grant from the Degenstein Foundation will go towards building a data warehouse that will be home to healthcare, drilling, and environmental data needed for the project.

Stephen Sellers, Administrative Director of the initiative, said the project will take 20 to 30 years. He said they’re divided into 5-year phases and the grant will go towards the first.

http://notennesseepipeline.blogspot.com/

A group of Pike County residents are spending President’s Day locked to a gate through Delaware State Forest.

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