New Report Says EPA Fracking Study Methods Need Help

You need helpA major new report was released yesterday from the Battelle Memorial Institute that reviews the Environmental Protection Agency’s stated plan to study hydraulic fracturing and its impacts on water. The 166-page report (embedded below) says the EPA has it wrong with how they are proceeding.

The report was funded by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), perhaps the two largest energy-related associations in the U.S. (ranked by funding). So the obligatory “but it was funded by the industry!” arguments will come out, to be sure. But you can’t argue with the findings in this report. Battelle is an independent non-profit, science and technology research and development organization with an excellent reputation—a reputation they want to keep.

This is not an industry shill report, but a serious look at how the EPA might better conduct a serious scientific investigation, rather than a sham pretense for an activist government bent on phasing out fossil fuels.

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Williams Does Second Midstream Deal with Caiman Energy

Midstream giant Williams Partners continues an aggressive push into the Marcellus and Utica Shale and continues to cozy up with Caiman Energy as well. Yesterday Williams announced it will contribute $380 million toward a new $800 million joint venture with Caiman and several other partners to develop pipelines and processing facilities for natural gas, natural gas liquids and oil in the Utica Shale region of northeast Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania.

Earlier this year Williams spent $2.5 billion to purchase Caiman subsidiary Caiman Eastern Midstream, giving Williams a major midstream presence in the Marcellus/Utica region in northern West Virginia, southwestern Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio (see this MDN story). The recurring theme for Williams’ latest jv and acquisitions seems to be, “Get thee to the wet gas.”

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NY Constitution Pipeline Route Change?

Cabot Oil & Gas and Williams are partnering to build a new $750 million, 120-mile “Constitution Pipeline” to bring Marcellus Shale gas all the way from Susquehanna County, PA to Schoharie County, NY where it would connect to the Iroquois Gas Transmission pipeline and the Tennessee Gas pipeline (see this MDN story).

But the route the new pipeline takes through New York (see the map below) is being opposed by some area residents and by two Republican state legislators: Assemblyman Pete Lopez and Sen. James Seward. They want the pipeline to “hug” the Interstate 88 corridor instead.

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Gov. Kasich Signs Order Tightening Rules on Injection Wells

Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed an “emergency” executive order (EO) yesterday granting the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) authority to implement a list of new rules for proposed deep injection wells, used to dispose of drilling wastewater from Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling (a copy of the signed EO is embedded below).

The EO will expire in 90 days—enough time for the Ohio legislature to make the new rules permanent.

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NY Anti-Frackers are Getting Desperate, and it Shows

Organized opposition to hydraulic fracturing in New York—mostly located in New York City—is getting desperate, and it shows in the shrill tenor of their rallies. They sense that the state Department of Environment Conservation (DEC) is about to release the final final final final version of New York’s drilling rules, called the SGEIS (Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement). And so to turn up the heat, they rally and protest.

Their latest target/tactic? Demand that Gov. Andrew Cuomo withdraw the SGEIS and send it to someone else for an “independent review.” Why?

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Opposed to Proposed Injection Well in Clearfield County, PA

Windfall Oil & Gas Company wants to build an injection well to dispose of Marcellus Shale wastewater in Brady Township (Clearfield County), PA. They’ve submitted an application to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees permitting and regulation of injection wells nationwide. The PA Department of Environmental Protection would also need to approve such  a well.

Currently there are only eight injection wells in the entire state, two of them in Clearfield County. There is a movement by local politicians and residents to oppose the new injection well, and depending on the news account you read, there will be either an open or a mostly closed-door meeting on July 23 with the EPA present to discuss the proposed well.

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