Thursday, May 10, 2012

Penn. Marcellus News Update 5/10/12

Marcellus Shale Fracking Wastewater Harmful
A new paper by Natural Resources Defense Council says hydraulic fracturing (fracking) generates massive amounts of polluted wastewater in in the Marcellus Shale that threatens the health of drinking water supplies, rivers, streams, and groundwater - and that federal and state regulations have not kept pace with the dramatic growth of fracking and must be strengthened to reduce the risks of health issues throughout the Marcellus region.
The Devil Comes for Western Pennsylvania
It’s easy for those who live in cities faraway to oppose fracking. For them, it’s abstract. They fight with soaring rhetoric and online petitions against fracking and for good reason. But they don’t have to make the hard decision. When the devil comes for the soul of western Pennsylvania, it’s easy for those not living there to make it a black and white issue of right vs. wrong.
But the devil operates in the gray areas.
Let’s do the math for a small farm that has 50 acres the gas companies want: $3,000 x 50 = $150,000 signing fee. After that, they receive around 18 percent in royalty payments.  For a family who most likely lives paycheck to paycheck, who has a good chance of not having health insurance, and which maybe would just like that new car they’ve been wanting for the last 15 years, that’s the financial equivalent of winning the lottery.
New Marcellus Shale Drilling Law Keeps Courts Busy
The flurry of legal activity surrounding Pennsylvania’s new drilling law continues.
On Wednesday, attorneys representing seven municipalities and other entities opposing state Act 13 filed further motions with Commonwealth Court in attempts to strike down portions of the legislation.
At issue is the diminished ability of local government to regulate oil and gas activities. Opponents contend that the law “deprives municipal officials of carrying out their legally binding duty to protect air, water and natural environmental values,” according to a lawsuit filed in March by seven municipalities and other entities.
Dominion plans shale expansion
Dominion Resources held its annual shareholder's meeting in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, a fitting location for a Richmond, Va.-based energy firm that sees huge growth potential in the natural gas transmission and transportation market springing up above Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale formation.
Dominion is expanding gas transmission and processing projects and pipelines across the Marcellus and Utica regions, with plans for facilities in every state where producers are extracting gas from the rock formations, said President and CEO Thomas F. Farrell.
The company saw 2011 income drop 5 percent to $1.41 billion.
Peters councilman David Ball: State group is failing townships over shale law
A Peters councilman has sent a scathing letter to the head of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, calling out the organization for publishing a "deliberately misleading" bulletin about a legal challenge to the state's new Marcellus Shale law. The letter also says the organization has "failed miserably" in its duty to protect municipalities from having zoning, planning and other rights stripped.
Councilman David Ball wrote to the supervisors organization's executive director David Sanko, citing the group's April bulletin, specifically an update about the status of Act 13, the state's new law governing Marcellus Shale drilling and impact fees.
Chesapeake Earnings Up 35 Percent in First Quarter
It appears development of the Marcellus shale natural gas "play" is proving to be pretty lucrative for at least one company.
Executives with Chesapeake Midstream Partners released their first quarter financial report Wednesday morning, posting net income of about $52.5 million. That's up roughly 35 percent from the same period last year.
Executives credit the increase on development of land in the Marcellus region that had been acquired last December.

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