The anti-drillers are hot and bothered. A fringe anti-drilling group called Toxics Targeting (from where else, Ithaca, NY) held a small rally in Binghamton yesterday. They enlisted the support of the Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan to their cause. And this week’s cause? Send a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo asking him to ban fracking, but especially to drop any plans to allow the drilling of “demonstration wells” in Broome, Tioga and Chemung counties.
A new study just released by America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) and the American Petroleum Institute (API) finds that methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing are at least 50% less than estimates from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And this is not a wild, unsubstantiated claim by “the industry.” ANGA and API have the science to prove it.
The new study (full copy embedded below) takes the most comprehensive look at the data to date—data from 91,000 U.S. natural gas producing wells. That’s a sample size 10 times larger than the EPA used in their estimates.
Here’s some of the stunning results found by the new study:
Here we go again. Yesterday, the Morgantown, WV City Council voted on new legislation that would “regulate” (i.e. ban) hydraulic fracturing. But this time, those sharp-as-a-tack council members have contented themselves with regulating it within their own borders.
You may recall that last year the same Morgantown City Council (pictured below) passed a ban on fracking that included areas up to one mile outside of the city limits in a blatant attempt to try and stop the fracking of two gas wells that sit about a mile from the edge of the city. A WV circuit court judge overturned the ban (see this MDN story). Since then, both of those Marcellus wells were fracked, came online, and somehow, mystically—there has been no water contamination or ill health affects of any kind. Who woulda thunk?
The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) has ordered a study to determine if three of the district’s reservoirs—Clendening, Atwood and Leesville—can safely become a source of water sales for drillers who need water for hydraulic fracturing. Some residents are concerned, but the MWCD is already successfully selling some water and believes there may be an opportunity to sell more.
In brief public comments yesterday, both Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley supported and defended a plan to grant Shell a 25-year, $1.7 billion tax forgiveness plan if they will build and operate an ethane cracker plant in the state. For those new to the issue, ethane is one of the chemicals that comes out of the ground from natural gas drilling. Ethane can be “cracked” or converted in ethylene, a raw material used to make plastics.
The plant that Shell proposes to build will generate some 20,000 jobs and create an economic impact of $17-$20 billion. Investing $1.7 billion to get $17-$20 billion is a no-brainer.
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently delivered a “rule clarification” that means trucking firms may no longer subtract “down time”—like waiting for water and sand to be loaded/unloaded—from the maximum number of hours a driver can work per day. Some trucking firms were using a loophole, an exemption for special oil field service equipment, to increase the total number of hours drivers worked. No more.
An article on the Legal Newsline website takes a look at the motivations behind calls for a ban on hydraulic fracturing—and they get it right:
The Town of Rochester, NY, located in Ulster County along the Hudson River (and not the City of Rochester located on the opposite side of the state) is considering a ban on hydraulic fracturing:
The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: