A group of Chenango County, NY officials have come up with a great idea: Use the abandoned Camp Pharsalia prison facility in a very rural part of the county (sits on 52 acres, owned by the state) to drill several test Marcellus and Utica Shale wells, and use it as a living laboratory with everyone involved—the state, the drilling industry, environmental groups and academe. In other words, let’s just test this out to see if there are any problems. The experiment would be a public-private partnership between the state and the drilling industry. Brilliant!
This forward-thinking group submitted their proposal to the state Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel in January:
On Tuesday, New York Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Joe Martens gave testimony at a legislative budget hearing in Albany about the department’s staffing needs for 2012. The conversation turned to the DEC’s lack of a request for additional staffing that would be needed to oversee permits and drilling for shale gas should hydraulic fracturing finally, after four years, be allowed in the state. Once again, Martens’ language is very telling. His responses have moved away from “when” to “if” fracking will be allowed:
Here’s an “I told you so.” Last week, MDN covered the story of the arrest of Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox at a Congressional hearing (see this MDN story). That episode gave rise to MDN’s weekly update this past Sunday, and the current MDN poll which asks if Gasland is truth or fiction.
New drilling legislation, including an impact fee, has passed the Pennsylvania Senate and debate began last night in the PA House. Debate will continue today. Passage is expected this week, perhaps as early as today. As MDN pointed out yesterday, the mostly anti-drilling organization Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) gave the new legislation a lukewarm, half-hearted endorsement as “the best thing we can get right now” (see this MDN story).
However, the mostly anti-drilling Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), which works closely with the PEC, gave the legislation a more positive endorsement, calling it “a tremendous step forward.” From the CBF press release:
A new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers analyzing American energy mergers and transactions in 2011 worth more than $50 million found a dramatic increase in deals in the Utica Shale, and a dramatic decrease in deals in the Marcellus Shale.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican in his first term in office, delivered the annual State of the State address yesterday. He chose to do it from the auditorium of a high-performing elementary school in Steubenville. During the 90-minute speech he was briefly interrupted by several hecklers until state troopers removed them from the room. Who were the bad actors? You guessed it—anti-drillers.
A group of landowners in Somerset County, PA (southwestern part of the state) has formed and is looking to lease a block of 11,300 acres of land for shale oil and gas drilling. The group is called the Casselman Valley Landowner Group and is conducting meetings to recruit new members.