Even though the New York Times’ own public editor has written two articles criticizing the Times for its slanted and inaccurate coverage of the natural gas drilling industry (see MDN’s coverage here), the Times either doesn’t learn or doesn’t care. Ian Urbina, the same Times writer who has authored previous fictions, has taken another swipe at the industry. This new article, appearing in today’s print edition (posted online last night), goes for the jugular—hydraulic fracturing.
Fracking is a 60-year old technology that forces water and sand into a drilled hole in order to break apart tightly-packed rocks, like shale, to release the gas and oil in them. Along with water and sand, very small amounts of chemicals are used to prevent bacterial growth due to the high heat of drilling. Those opposed to drilling try to instill fear that those chemicals will somehow contaminate groundwater supplies.
Just last week, MDN wrote about New Martinsville, WV enacting a Marcellus drilling ban (see MDN story). Because of the ban, the West Virginia Independent Oil & Gas Association hinted that their members would boycott New Martinsville businesses in retaliation—unless the ban is lifted. Looks like that threat worked:
News of Chesapeake Energy’s major oil discovery in eastern Ohio’s Utica Shale prompted officials in Columbiana County to renegotiate their about-to-be-signed lease with Chesapeake. It was a smart move for the county—netting them an additional $255K:
Pittsburgh City Councilman Doug Shields, who will soon be leaving office, is staunchly anti-drilling. He led the successful effort to have hydraulic fracturing and shale gas drilling banned in the City of Pittsburgh. The ban was enacted by City Council last November. Now that Mr. Shields has landed on the happy shores of no drilling, he wants to burn the ships to ensure future Council members can’t undo all of his good work. His method? Amend the City’s Home Rule Charter to permanently ban drilling anywhere in the city limits.
Mr. Shields has proposed a measure be put on the ballot in November to let voters decide if the Charter should be amended. There’s just one small problem: It’s probably not legal.