Pennsylvania lawmakers are getting close to passage of legislation that would adopt many of the recommendations from Gov. Tom Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, including an impact fee on wells and including a measure that would supersede some local drilling ordinances.
Mercyhurst College recently completed a statewide poll in Pennsylvania covering several issues, one of which is Marcellus Shale drilling in the state. A copy of the full questions and responses is embedded below. On the straightforward question, “Do you favor or oppose extracting natural gas through fracking in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale region?” the results were: Favor 55%; Oppose 27%; Depends 9%; Don’t Know 9%. A very clear and convincing majority of Pennsylvanians support fracking.
From the Mercyhurst press announcement summarizing the results:
Enterprise Products Partners L.P. is planning to build a major new pipeline to transport ethane from the Marcellus and Utica Shale regions in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The second largest component (by volume) to come out of the ground in shale gas drilling is the chemical ethane. Somewhere between one and six percent of natural gas coming from the ground is ethane, which can be converted to the hydrocarbon ethylene. Ethylene is the “feedstock” (or raw material) used to make most plastics, including polyethylene and PVC. Enterprise wants to provide a way for ethane to reach the ethylene processing plants along the Gulf Coast.
Rather than pay legal fees to defend their legislation, the supervisors in Benton Township (Lackawanna County), PA voted Wednesday to change the language of their legislation restricting the drilling of an exploratory well by Southwestern Energy. The supervisors voted to grant Southwestern the right to drill the exploratory well back in June, but slapped 18 specific (and costly) conditions on the project, making it unfeasible according to Southwestern who challenged 11 of the 18 conditions. The supervisors changed 9 of those 11 yesterday.
Edmond Seifried is professor emeritus of economics at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. He says that fiscal and monetary policy used by the Federal Reserve has not and will not work. He says that natural gas is not just the best, but the only way for the U.S. to recover from the current economic malaise.
Seifried points out the obvious: The less money we spend on foreign oil and invest in our own energy sources (in particular natural gas), the more the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will increase, meaning more jobs here at home, and more money that stays here in our country.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is asking for public comments on a draft permit that controls air emission standards for shale gas drilling. The new standards do not affect the actual drilling and fracking activities because those are regulated by federal rules. The Ohio permit would regulate emissions from generators, dehydration systems and other “peripheral” activities that go on in the drilling process. A copy of the draft permit can be downloaded here.
From the Ohio EPA press release about the new air permit:
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