Yesterday the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced a one-year study that will look at impacts on air quality from Marcellus drilling and the infrastructure (pipelines and compressor plants) that comes with shale gas drilling. The study will focus on Washington County in western PA, primarily in and around Chartiers Township, home of a gas processing plant.
The DEP plans to use this initial study and its results to guide them on whether, and where, to conduct other air quality studies.
The so-called “home rule” movement grants power to local town boards to ban hydraulic fracturing either by enacting laws or by the use of zoning. Two court cases challenging home rule in New York are winding their way through the system now. Home rule is also a controversy in Pennsylvania with seven townships taking the state to court over the new Act 13 provision that strips away most of their zoning rights when it comes to oil and gas drilling in favor of state zoning rules.
Home rule is now alive in Ohio too—in Beaver Township (Mahoning County). A group of Beaver Township residents are collecting signatures for a November ballot that would make Beaver a “home rule” township. And in so doing, would grant them the power to shut down drilling.
Two more townships in Chenango County, NY have passed resolutions supporting whatever plan the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) proposes with respect to horizontal hydraulic fracturing for the Marcellus and Utica Shale. Anti-drillers would say they’ve voted to support drilling, although the resolutions simply state they will leave it up to individuals to decide.
The towns of Coventry and Greene voted to adopt a resolution in favor of drilling. Of the townships located in the Lucky Five Counties (Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Steuben and Tioga) that have voted on the topic of drilling, the vast majority have voted in favor, or more accurately with a neutral resolution saying they won’t ban it.
Don’t look now, but one of the shining examples of an entire country that banned fracking—France—a country exalted by anti-drillers as a shining example for America to emulate, is considering…lifting the ban! That’s right, the new French government, which is Socialist to the point of being Communist, sees all of the jobs being created by shale drilling in the U.S.—and they’re lusting for it.
Faced with keeping the ban to placate the greens, or lift the ban and embrace safe drilling and reap thousands of new jobs, the new Socialist French government is leaning toward the later. C’est la vie.
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), India’s largest private company of any kind and an energy giant, made three investments two years ago in U.S. shale plays via joint ventures—two of them in the Marcellus and one in the Eagle Ford. The company said in a recent analyst presentation those investments are starting to pay off and they expect their shale gas volumes to grow at an annual rate of 50% by 2015. If it does, it will contribute 8-10% of RIL’s earnings. That’s a pretty big deal—from nothing to contributing 8-10% inside of five years for the largest company in India.
An update on RIL’s three U.S. shale joint ventures:
When a mainstream media outlet deigns to tell the truth about fracking, as did the AP a few days ago (see this MDN story), other news outlets start saying things like the fracking debate has “reached a new, bizarre dimension” (Business Insider, July 23). Isn’t it sad when truth is considered bizarre?
Business Insider (BI) got a headache from all the fracking talk—they just don’t know who to believe. I mean, when the AP outs Josh Fox as a liar, maybe the world really is coming to end, right? So BI turned to a geologist, Dr. Steven Marshak at the University of Illinois, to help them out. Dr. Marshak writes geology textbooks, so BI figures he must know a thing or two about fracking.