Maryland’s Attorney General, Douglas F. Gansler, has filed an “intent to sue” on Chesapeake Energy because of the accidental spill of fracking fluid in April in Leroy Township, PA (read MDN’s story about the spill here). Mr. Gansler’s rationale for his litigiousness is that the fluid reached a small stream that feeds the Towanda Creek, and the Towanda Creek in turn empties into the Susquehanna River, and the Susquehanna River empties into the Chesapeake Bay. Therefore, according to Gansler, several federal statutes have been violated, including the Clean Water Act. Also, the City of Baltimore uses the Susquehanna as a backup source of water “in times of drought.”
New York State’s long, ponderous, tedious road to allow Marcellus Shale drilling takes another small step forward—maybe.
Supervisors in Ohio Township (Allegheny County), PA last night voted to approve an ordinance that places restrictions on Marcellus Shale drilling in the Township. According to Township Solicitor Mike Witherel, the previous ordinance, passed in 2003, placed no restrictions on drilling. The new ordinance puts in place common sense restrictions on drilling activities.
A new technology funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory may hold the key to cleaning Marcellus Shale (and other drilling) fracking fluids. According to the press release from the DOE below, this new technology removes 99 percent of oil and grease from the water in fracking fluid, and it removes 90 percent of the nasty stuff: benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes. The Osorb technology uses “swelling glass”—silica or sand-like particles—to absorb the chemicals. And it can be re-used over and over again. See a video of it in action below.
Range Resources, one of the largest drillers in the Marcellus Shale, will provide ethane to Canadian chemical company NOVA Chemicals. Methane is the primary compound that is “mined” during gas drilling, but ethane is also one of the compounds produced when drilling. And ethane is used by chemical companies as a “feedstock” or raw material to make plastics. For more background, see this MDN story.
From the company issued press release: