Chesapeake Pays 3 PA Families $1.6M for Methane Contamination

The Real NewsChesapeake Energy settled a case with several landowners in the small community of Wyalusing (Bradford County), PA who say their well water was contaminated by Chesapeake’s nearby drilling activity. Three families will receive $1.6 million from Chesapeake which includes buying out their homes so they can move. Some 30 other area families are in various stages of litigation with Chesapeake over the same issue.

For MDN, the fascinating aspect of this story is how the news has been covered by mainstream media. First, the news itself, then “the real news”:

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Businesses Form Coalition to Reach Drilling Industry in OH

Businesses in Muskingum County, Ohio are banding together to form a coalition to market themselves to the Utica Shale drilling industry that’s just getting started in the area.

Backed by the Zanesville-Muskingum County Chamber of Commerce, the new group, called the Muskingum Oil and Gas Coalition, currently has 28 member companies. They want to get to 130 members. Members pay $300 per year in dues to fund the new group.

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Who is GreenHunter Water’s New Mystery Marcellus Customer?

GreenHunter Water has picked up a new drilling company for their water management services (see the full press release below). The new customer is an independent driller somewhere in the Marcellus Shale play that owns leases on approximately 90,000 acres in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and is looking to expand. Thing is, GreenHunter won’t (or can’t) disclose the identity of this new mystery customer they’ve just signed on. But MDN thinks it can! There’s one independent driller who claims to have 90,000 acres of leases in PA/WV and is looking to expand, and that company is…

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Sierra Club Attacks FERC for Approving NYC Pipeline

Recently the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the construction of a 20-mile pipeline from New Jersey to New York City (see this MDN story). Spectra Energy is constructing the pipeline to the tune of $1.2 billion (a mini-economic boom for NJ/NY). The new pipeline and the cheap natural gas it will bring to NYC will reduce oil burning, which will be mandated starting in 2015 when NYC residents and landlords will no longer be allowed to burn No. 6 fuel oil. The new pipeline will be the equivalent of taking the emissions of 1 million cars off city streets per year. A good thing, no?

According to Sierra Club, that is a “no.” The Sierra Club doesn’t want cheap natural gas delivered to NYC, saving customers millions of dollars and saving the environment, because they don’t like fracking and the gas will mostly come from the Marcellus Shale. And that doesn’t fit with the the Sierra Club’s “attack everything natural gas” philosophy. So they’ve begun the process of protesting the approval for the pipeline, a process that will eventually end in federal court. Stunningly, in the paperwork they filed last week, they blame FERC for doing its job!

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The Reason We Have Low Natural Gas Prices: Marcellus

Startling new statistic from Bloomberg: The United States was able to produce enough energy from homegrown sources to meet 81 percent of our energy demand in 2011. Why? The miracle of hydraulic fracturing of shale.

Second startling new statistic: The Marcellus Shale alone produced 6.3 billion cubic feet per day in March. That’s enough gas to meet 62% of natural gas demand in 11 eastern states from Maine to Maryland. Astonishing.

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Marshall County, WV Pipeline Installation Problems

George Lagos and his small staff of water department employees who work at Marshall County (WV) Public Service District No. 4 (PSD No. 4) have a problem—too many gas pipelines being laid, not enough workers to inspect the process.

PSD No. 4 serves a large area of the county between Moundsville and Cameron. Lagos and two others are responsible for inspecting and maintaining 200 miles of water and other types of pipelines. When new natural gas pipelines are installed, Lagos is supposed to get 48 hours notice so they can monitor the installation. According to Lagos, that isn’t happening.

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OSHA Issues Hazard Alert for Sand Used in Fracking

A few weeks MDN wrote about potential health hazards to those who work with hydraulic fracturing from the sand used in the process (see this MDN story). That sand is silica, or crystalline sand. Very very fine—think extremely small like asbestos particles. And like asbestos, proper precautions must be taken when working around it to prevent it from lodging in the lungs and causing lung cancer.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) along with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), both federal agencies, have jointly issued a hazard alert for workers who handle sand during the process of fracking:

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