Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekend Marcellus News Update 6/8-10

Fracking Aqua-PVR and the Riverdale Snipers
Garder54 calls Kevin June “a real scum.”
LadyDawg4 calls him a “sleazeball.”
Proud2bMom calls him a “liar and a thief.”
Kevin June is the reluctant leader for the 37 families of the Riverdale Mobile Home Village in Jersey Shore, Pa., who were evicted from their homes, most of which they owned and paid a monthly lot fee. Some of the residents lived there for more than three decades. Most of the residents are elderly, disabled, or living slightly above the poverty line. Several are employed; all are struggling to survive in a bad economy.
In late February, Aqua–PVR, a joint operation of Aqua America and Penn Virginia Resource Partners, bought the 12-acre trailer park for $550,000. It plans to build a pumping station to withdraw up to three million gallons of water a day from the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, and send that water through a newly-constructed pipeline system to natural gas companies that use fracking. The controversial practice involves forcing as much as 10 million gallons of water, sand, toxic chemicals and potential carcinogens deep into the earth to withdraw natural gas. The Marcellus Shale, primarily in Pennsylvania and parts of four surrounding states, is one of the nation’s largest sources for natural gas.  Health and environmental pollution problems are widespread near the wells.
Aqua-PVR had originally ordered the residents to leave by May 1, but then extended it a month. It dangled a $2,500 relocation incentive in its eviction. However, the cost to move each trailer is between $6,000 and $11,000 plus any sheds and ramps.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. said Friday it would sell its midstream business to Global Infrastructure Partners for $4 billion.
The Oklahoma City-based natural gas company, which has a significant presence in the Marcellus Shale, has been under fire for a large amount of debt and cash flow issues. The announcement, which Chesapeake said would be accomplished in three separate transactions, will give Chesapeake not only the $4 billion but also would reduce its capital expenditures by $3 billion over three years.
Federal health and environmental agencies are investigating whether Range Resources Inc.'s Yeager Marcellus Shale gas drilling site in Washington County caused toxic air and groundwater pollution that damaged the health of nearby residents.
The Atlanta-based Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said this week it has been working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since March 2011 to assess health problems reported by residents living in a valley below Range's wastewater pond and a drill cuttings pit at the Amwell Township site.
The Allegheny County Airport Authority board hired Texas-based Mead & Hunt Inc. Friday to develop possible business plans, including costs and flight schedules, for airlines that might be interested in starting service between Pittsburgh and 13 other airports in the state, including Latrobe, DuBois, Erie, Harrisburg, Johnstown, Lancaster and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Taxpayers could be on the hook for cleaning up pollution at a zinc smelter site in Beaver County, increasing the public price tag if Shell Oil Co. buys the property for a new petrochemical plant.
Shell, which would not have to pay property taxes for 15 years at the Horsehead Corp. site and could qualify for $1.7 billion in state credits, might have its environmental cleanup bills covered by federal tax incentives, state officials said on Friday.
Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh could not be reached for comment.
The news of additional subsidies for Shell, the world's second-largest company with more than $20 billion in profits last year, left state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, "very troubled."
"Wouldn't it make more sense for the company that caused the pollution to pay for the costs of cleaning it up, rather than the taxpayers?" asked Leach, who yesterday sent a letter to Gov. Tom Corbett questioning the various credits the state is offering Shell and called for public hearings on the matter.
Fish and Boat makes money from leases on timber and mineral rights, including Marcellus Shale gas, on agency-owned properties. But Arway said it's a proverbial drop in the bucket.
"We don't have as much property as the Game Commission," he said. "We have 44,000 acres, mostly boat launches and properties around lakes. I think we've had one sale of timber. We're making efforts to market shale gas on some of our properties, but it's not anywhere near the extraction phase. We have not withdrawn any gas. There have been no royalty payments yet."
Arway said the agency can't rely on income from resource leases to meet its wildlife management expenses.
"It was estimated that if we owned all the mineral rights on our properties -- and we're not sure if we own them -- we'd bring in over $50 million in 20 years," he said. "But that's not nearly enough to meet our obligations. We have a $120 million need just to fix our high-hazard dams that have been closed."

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