Dr. Shikha Sharma, an assistant professor at West Virginia University and the lead researcher of a new WVU study looking at the source of methane found in water supplies (see this MDN story), says those who think that hydraulic fracturing is the cause of methane found in their water supply may be wrong. And she can prove it—scientifically.
We have a new development in the ongoing case from Susquehanna County, PA where a lower court upheld the “Dunham rule” declaring oil and gas are not part of mineral rights. The Dunham rule, a PA law precedent that’s been in place since 1882, was challenged by PA Superior Court (see this MDN story), threatening to overturn dozens if not hundreds of leases and deeds in Pennsylvania. The landowners in the case have now appealed directly to the PA State Supreme Court in an effort to lay this to rest and have the Dunham rule upheld.
The Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin reports on a rumor in today’s paper about a company in Endicott (Broome County, NY) thinking about treating fracking wastewater:
A new database is on the way to track the impact of Marcellus Shale drilling on water quality in Pennsylvania, thanks to a $750,000 research grant by the National Science Foundation. The database will be created and maintained by Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, Bucknell University and Dickinson College. Researchers will identify and use data collected from multiple sources, including watershed groups, government agencies and others.
Greene Township (Erie County, PA) supervisors have just passed an amendment to the township zoning ordinance requiring all new gas drilling to obtain a conditional-use permit before drilling a new well. A conditional-use permit means drillers not only have to file for a permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection, they also have to file for a permit with the township as well, appearing before the board of supervisors and explaining, in detail, their plans—before a permit will be issued.
Under Pennsylvania law conditional-use permits by local municipalities are allowed, although in some areas where it’s been implemented drillers have left the area in protest, preferring to work in areas that are more drilling-friendly.
More pipeline news. First Reserve, an investment company that invests primarily in the energy industry, has just pumped $100 million into a joint venture that will give it 50% ownership in two new pipeline gathering systems in Greene and Clearfield counties in Pennsylvania. Both pipelines service the Marcellus Shale drilling industry in those areas.
Marcellus shale gas is now flowing through the UGI Energy Services Auburn pipeline to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline in Susquehanna County, PA with volumes expected to reach 120,000 dekatherms per day “in the next several months.” What does it mean? It’s one more access point for Marcellus Shale gas to reach the larger interstate market.