It looks like new PA Gov. Tom Corbett’s pick to head the Department of Environmental Protection will soon be confirmed by the State Senate. Michael L. Krancer, 53, of Bryn Mawr in Montgomery County, answered Senators’ questions at his confirmation hearing yesterday. In particular he responded to questions about the recent stories in The New York Times alleging PA has been lax in testing drinking water supplies that The Times claims are now contaminated with high levels of radioactivity from drilling wastewater.
Krancer took the opportunity to set the record straight on a few facts The Times got wrong:
Range Resources, one of the largest drillers in the Marcellus Shale, recently released year-end results (yes, more earnings statements!). And they have some big news about the Marcellus buried in their report. Namely, Range currently produces 260 million cubic feet of of natural gas per day from their Marcellus Shale operations, and they are on track to produce 400 million cubic feet by the end of 2011. Range says by the end of 2012 they will be producing 600 million cubic feet. Eventually? They think they can reach billions of cubic feet of gas per day.
Chesapeake Energy is one of the largest drillers for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, period. And they are a big driller in Bradford and other counties in Northeastern PA. With so many wells being drilled in the area, roads have been damaged. Many of the roads are what Chesapeake refers to as “pie crust” roads – nothing more than 2 inches of asphalt laid on clay or dirt – the kind of roads that don’t hold up well to any kind of traffic. Chesapeake is not only repairing the damage, but in many cases making the roads better than they originally were:
Pittsburgh City Councilman and Council President Doug Shields (Democrat-District 5) was the driving force behind legislation passed late last year that banned drilling for Marcellus Shale gas inside city limits. Energy companies hold leases on 362 acres, or 1 percent, of land in the city proper. Shields worked with the environmentalist and anti-drilling law firm Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund to craft that legislation.
It seems that recent stories from The New York Times about potential wastewater contamination are an opportunity too good to “waste” for Councilman Shields.
The Bayer CropScience plant in Institute, WV is rumored to be downsizing. Currently 500 people are employed there, but the plant will soon stop making and storing the same chemical (MIC) that leaked in the Union Carbide chemical plant in Bhopal, India killing thousands back in 1984. If that happens, some 200 people will lose their jobs. But there may be hope to keep those jobs because of Marcellus Shale drilling: