A critical component in the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to study hydraulic fracturing is where they will conduct case studies. Starting on page 42 of the draft proposal, we find out.
There were 48 proposed locations suggested to the EPA, from which they will select between five and eight locations. We know five likely locations right now, and two of those are in the Marcellus Shale region—the other three are in other shale formations around the country.
UPDATE: The headline and assumptions made for this article were based on lack of information and misinformation. The wells drilled by Anschutz were not hydraulically fractured, and the Trenton Black River formation is a limestone formation, not shale as stated in the law firm’s press release. Please see this article for more details: Anschutz Exploration Responds to Lawsuit Claiming Drilling Operations Contaminated Water Wells in Big Flats, NY.
A New York City personal injury law firm has filed a claim on behalf of nine families located in the Elmira, NY area against Anschutz Exploration Corporation, alleging that Anschutz contaminated their drinking water from natural gas drilling activities. The Anschutz drilling is in the Trenton Black River shale formation, not the Marcellus. So why is this news item included in MDN? Because it involves hydraulic fracturing of horizontally drilled natural gas wells, the same method used for drilling in the Marcellus. The Trenton Black River formation is about 10,000 feet down, the Marcellus “only” 5,000 feet down. So opponents of drilling will try to use this to paint all hydraulic fracturing, for any drilling (natural gas or oil, Marcellus or otherwise) as unsafe. Their aim is to ban the practice. The aim of the law firm is to shake down a drilling company and get as much cash as they can. The aim of the families affected is to get safe drinking water. Everyone has an agenda.
The West Virginia legislature is actively debating new legislation that regulates drilling in the Marcellus Shale. One of the provisions in the proposed legislation being hotly debated is the issue of forced pooling:
Although not enough to offset the loss of revenue from lower commodity price of timber sales, the Pennsylvania State Game Commission says royalties from leasing state land for drilling in the Marcellus Shale is helping to keep the commission afloat.