Newly elected Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, will be a key figure (perhaps the key figure) in determining whether or not drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale goes forward in the state. His appointment of Joe Martens on Jan. 4 to be head of the Department of Environmental Conservation which oversees drilling was not a good sign to those who favor drilling (see MDN’s story here). But Mr. Martens seems to be signing a different tune these days.
Chesapeake Energy was flaring three gas wells in Avella, located in Washington County, PA on Feb. 23 when tanks holding some 105,000 gallons of natural gas liquids exploded. Contrary to some reports, the explosion had nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing fluids. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation and not known at this time.
As for the three workers injured, at least one of them is still in critical condition:
The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) held it’s final round of public hearings yesterday near its Trenton, NJ headquarters. The hearings held earlier this week in Liberty, NY and Honesdale, PA, along with the hearings yesterday in Trenton, NJ, were for public comment on the DRBC’s proposed new extra layer of drilling regulations for Marcellus Shale gas wells drilled within the Delaware River watershed, which includes portions of Pennsylvania and New York where Marcellus drilling occurs. By all accounts, there was a similar theme from the comments in Trenton: Those in favor of drilling say the regulations are way too restrictive, and those against drilling say they’re not strict enough.