MDN’s First Webinar: The Truth About Gas Drilling and America’s Energy Choices

John_Hanger_1Please join MDN editor Jim Willis has he welcomes former Sec. of the PA DEP John Hanger for a FREE webinar on Thursday, July 12, 2012 @ 7:00 PM EDT.

John will present on the truth about gas drilling, and its alternatives, in MDN’s first-ever public webinar. It’s free to attend, just sign up by clicking the link below.

Register Now! (Spaces are limited)
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/0h532/register/2692075399046932736

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UK Academy of Engineering Study: Fracking is Safe

A refreshing report has been issued by the UK Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society that says, in essence, hydraulic fracturing should be expanded in that country and when it’s properly regulated, fracking is perfectly safe. Issued earlier this month, the 76-page report is titled “Shale gas extraction in the UK: a review of hydraulic fracturing” (a full copy is embedded below).

Here’s the opening two paragraphs, which pretty much sum up the tone and findings of the report:

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UB Issues Supportive Statement for its Shale Institute

You may recall that recently the brand new Shale Resources and Society Institute at the University at Buffalo (UB) published a 52-page study that found environmental problems caused by Marcellus Shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania were isolated, mostly minor and on the decline. The enviro-left perceived a threat. This is a major university coming out in support of drilling—something that cannot stand. So the enviro-left flew into action to try and shame, cajole and bully UB into retracting support for its own newly established Institute. And it seemed to work (see this MDN story).

But what’s this? Yesterday UB issued a press statement that supports the Institute. Sort of. Lukewarm. Half-heartedly. UB defended the Institute by saying the university does not and will not dictate the positions taken by its faculty members on controversial topics, and that UB has no plans to get rid of the Institute. Here’s the full statement:

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PA Legislature Reaches Deal on Tax Credit for Cracker Plant

A deal has been struck by the Republican majority legislature in Pennsylvania to grant Shell a tax credit over a 25-year period starting in 2017. Gov. Tom Corbett had originally proposed the tax credit be capped at $66 million per year, or a total of $1.7 billion, but the final version of the law, if passed, places no limit on the total amount other than a credit of five cents per gallon of ethane used. So the total deal may exceed $66 million per year.

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SRBC Suspends Water Withdrawals in Some Areas

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), unlike the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), actively manages water withdrawals for shale drilling from the rivers and streams that are a part of its jurisdiction. The DRBC allows no water withdrawals at all—yet.

Yesterday the SRBC suspended withdrawals at 37 different locations because water levels have dropped from lack of rain. This happens periodically. Withdrawals in some locations are suspended for a time, and then allowed to restart when levels rise again. The SRBC continues to do a good job of managing water supplies throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Here’s the press release and list of affected areas:

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Ethane, a “Stranded Commodity” About to be Rescued

The Motley Fool blog site has an insightful article today on ethane, “the stranded commodity” that, according to the article, won’t be stranded for long! What does that have to do with Marcellus and Utica Shale gas drilling? Everything, as it turns out.

As explained in the article, ethane is produced from natural gas drilling in “wet gas” areas—mostly southwestern PA, eastern OH, and the northern panhandle of WV. Ethane, as MDN has explained countless times (but there’s always new readers!) can be “cracked” into ethylene, the raw material or “feedstock” used by chemical manufacturers to make plastics and products like tires and antifreeze. But there’s one problem with the ethane coming from the Marcellus and Utica Shale: it currently costs too much to transport it to the Gulf Coast and other points where it can be converted.

According to the author of the article, that will all change soon.

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The Politics of Shale Energy

There is a brutal fact of politics no candidate can escape (try as they might): People vote their pocketbooks. The quintessential example of that that political axiom is Washington County, Pennsylvania. Heavily Democrat in voter registration, Washington County voters did something 3 1/2 years ago they haven’t done in over 40 years—they voted for a Republican for president (John McCain). And you can bet your bottom dollar Romney will be their choice this time around.

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