Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Penn. Marcellus News Update, 5/2/12

Dem House leaders push to revise gas-drilling law
State Democratic House leaders are pushing for changes to Act 13, the state law enacted earlier this year to regulates and impose fees on the shale gas-drilling industry in Pennsylvania.

Six bills sponsored by representatives from across the state have been bundled into what House Democratic Caucus leaders are calling the “Marcellus Compact.”
Geisinger to explore fracking's effect on health
Geisinger Health System plans to use its database of patient records to determine whether natural gas drilling in the Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale is harming residents.
The Danville hospital system began planning the project last year and started mining hundreds of thousands of medical records in recent weeks, David Carey, the director of Geisinger's Weis Center for Research, said in an interview at a conference in Washington. Carey said Geisinger is talking with foundations, the government and the gas industry about contributing money to expand the project.
 Food & Water Watch Applauds North Carolina for Cautious Approach to Fracking
“Today the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) released its final report on the potential impacts of legalizing hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the state. Thousands of North Carolinians participated in the open hearings about fracking and submitted comments, and their voices greatly improved the draft version of the report. The final report concludes that the current ban should remain in place indefinitely.  Importantly, the new conclusion also acknowledges that, given all available information, fracking could put the state’s water resources at risk. “While a positive development, sustained public pressure and engagement is needed to fully protect communities in the Tar Heel State from the risks and costs to public health and the environment that accompany drilling and fracking for shale gas, especially given the current push to allow fracking in North Carolina. For this reason, Food & Water Watch delivered to Governor Beverly Purdue a letter of invitation from residents and organizations in communities across the United States where drilling and fracking has already taken place, suggesting that she visit them to see and hear firsthand how fracking has affected their lives."
The following information was released by Clean Water Action:
Clean Water Action and Three Rivers Waterkeeper filed in federal district court today a settlement of their case against the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport. The two groups had filed a lawsuit in July 2011 under the Clean Water Act seeking an end to McKeesport's acceptance and discharge of wastewater from Marcellus Shale gas drilling operations.
Under the settlement, McKeesport has agreed to stop accepting any deliveries of Marcellus Shale wastewater at their plant. Additionally, if McKeesport decides in the future that they want to accept oil and gas wastewater, they will have to apply for a permit under the federal Clean Water Act through the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), subject to EPA approval. Any proposed permit would also undergo public review and comment. The settlement covers both shale gas wastewater and coal bed methane wastewater discharges
Chesapeake Energy Corporation Reports Financial and Operational Results for the 2012 First Quarter
Chesapeake Energy Corporation CHK -12.97% today announced financial and operational results for the 2012 first quarter. For the 2012 first quarter, Chesapeake reported a net loss to common stockholders of $71 million ($0.11 per fully diluted common share), ebitda of $597 million (defined as net income (loss) before income taxes, interest expense, and depreciation, depletion and amortization) and operating cash flow of $910 million (defined as cash flow from operating activities before changes in assets and liabilities) on revenue of $2.419 billion and production of 333 billion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent (bcfe). 
Energy Transfer to Acquire Sunoco
Natural-gas pipeline operator Energy Transfer Partners LP (ETP - Analyst Report) has entered into an agreement to acquire Philadelphia-based refining and petroleum product marketing company Sunoco Inc. (SUN - Analyst Report) for $5.3 billion.
The deal will enable Energy Transfer Partners to penetrate further in the crude oil transportation business as natural gas supplies remain under pressure from decade-low prices. 
Some opinion pieces:
How Many Fracking Jobs are Worth Polluted Water
In recent weeks the debate has taken on a new focus, with both sides debating the number of jobs fracking would create in the increasingly unemployed upstate region. Regardless of the industry's job creation estimates, fracking will cost New Yorkers too much in the long run to be worth it.
This is because fracking contaminates water supplies. Landowners in states that allow fracking, like West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Colorado, have already spent "hundreds of dollars a month to buy bottled water or maintain large tanks, known as water buffaloes, for drinking water in their front yards" while fracking companies reap the profits from the practice.
 How Oklahoma's Largest Newspaper Distorts The Facts About Fracking
The Oklahoman's straight news coverage of the controversial natural gas extraction process of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") has been slanted in favor of the process under the ownership of energy tycoon Philip Anschutz, who acquired the paper in September 2011. The paper's opinion page has been one-sided -- devoid of voices warning readers about the potential health risks and environmental dangers of loosely regulated fracking activities.

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