Marcellus Shale Coverage

Pages

DEP Audit
2:34 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

DEP Audited, But It Disagrees With Findings

After an 18-month audit, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been called “outdated, understaffed and underfunded” when it comes to monitoring the impact of Marcellus Shale drilling on water quality. 

“For an analogy internally we believe it’s like firefighters trying to put out a five-alarm fire with a 20-foot garden hose,” said Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

The audit resulted in eight findings with 29 recommendations. DePasquale said 18 of the recommendations would not cost tax payers any more money.

Read more
Environment & Energy
2:37 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

US Energy Secretary Hears from Pittsburgh on Natural Gas Future

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Congressman Tim Murphy addressed the importance of infrastructure for the future of natural gas development at a public meeting at CMU.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

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.

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.

Read more
Environment & Energy
4:23 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

DEP Reviewing Thousands of Comments on Overhaul of Drilling Regulations

Pennsylvania environmental regulators are wading through more than 25,000 public comments on a proposed overhaul of the state’s oil and gas regulations.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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." 

Read more
Environment & Energy
3:26 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Policy Group Adds Name to List of Those Calling for Gas Extraction Tax

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.

Read more
Environment & Energy
3:22 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

As Marcellus Shale Boom Continues, Public Perception Remains A Challenge For Industry

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.

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.

The Consumer Energy Alliance said that’s not the case.

Read more
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.

Read more
Marcellus Shale Sludge
1:48 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Range Resources Stores Radioactive Sludge in Washington County

Two drilling pads in Washington County are storing Marcellus Shale drilling sludge with radioactivity levels that are too high for regular disposal.

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 1st.

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.

Read more
Government & Politics
3:30 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Ohio House Approves Raising Severance Tax For Oil And Gas

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.

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.”

Read more
Environment & Energy
3:29 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Construction Commences On Marcellus Shale Power Plant

Gov. Tom Corbett, Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Bradford), Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford) and other state and local officials partake in the groundbreaking of the new power plant.
Credit Pennsylvania Commonwealth Media Services / 90.5 WESA

Construction for the first power plant deliberately located on the Marcellus Shale formation began Thursday.

“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.

The 829-megawatt natural gas-fueled power plant will be located in Asylum Township in Bradford County.

Corbett said the facility is creating approximately 560 jobs: 500 to construct it, about 27 to operate it and 45 indirect jobs to support it.

Read more
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.

Read more
Marcellus Shale
4:05 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Fracking Under Deer Lakes Park Is A Go, So What Happens Next?

Range Resources already operates around twenty production wells near Deer Lakes Park, with more under construction. This production pad is located in Washington County.
Credit Courtesy of Range Resources

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has signed an ordinance allowing hydraulic fracturing to occur underneath Deer Lakes Park.

Matt Pitzarella, spokesman for Range Resources, 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.

Read more
Environment & Energy
3:30 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Stack Proposes Marcellus Shale Severance Tax

Another Marcellus Shale drilling policy, which includes a 5 percent severance tax, is being proposed by a Philadelphia lawmaker.

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.

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.

Read more
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:

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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?

Read more
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.

Read more

Pages