The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a statement yesterday that they’re now officially finished with their investigation of Dimock, PA water wells. EPA testing of 64 wells in the area found elevated levels of arsenic, barium or manganese in four wells—all of those substances are naturally occurring. EPA has been delivering water to the four households, but since those households now have water treatment systems to fix the problem, as of August 6 the EPA will end all water deliveries. (Calling Josh Fox and Mark Ruffalo! We haven’t seen you in Dimock for a while. This is your last chance for another 2 hour visit/photo op. Better grab it while you can.)
The EPA statement (see below) closes a very long chapter in the fight over hydraulic fracturing and the false claims that fracking leaks chemicals into water supplies. Cabot Oil & Gas, the driller accused of contaminating water supplies around Dimock, was delighted (and vindicated) by the EPA’s investigation and was quick to comment (also below).
Seneca Resources, a subsidiary of National Fuel Gas focused on drilling in the Marcellus Shale, issued an update yesterday on its Marcellus drilling operations. Sometimes these press releases are just fluff without much information. Not so with this one. It contains a lot of very interesting information.
First the statement by Seneca/National Fuel Gas, then MDN’s analysis of it.
Noble Energy is a big driller with operations in many locations, including offshore. They released their second quarter results today. Even though their operations are spread around the world, the Marcellus Shale plays in increasingly important role in Noble’s drilling activities.
Noble reports drilling a Marcellus well in the second quarter with a lateral of 8,500 feet (over a mile and a half!). That well produced an initial rate of 17.9 million cubic feet of gas per day (MMcfd).
Below is the Noble press release. MDN highlights (in yellow) the portions relevant to their Marcellus operations.
The odious Food & Water Watch, based in Washington, D.C., has joined up with a Democrat Maryland state delegate, Shane Robinson, in calling for a statewide ban on fracking in Maryland. News flash: There is no fracking in Maryland there won’t be until 2014 at the earliest, and if they did start drilling, the Marcellus Shale is only found in two counties in Maryland! But that makes no difference to F&WW.
F&WW are the same people circulating a “ban fracking” petition in rich neighborhoods in Rhode Island, where there is no shale to frack, in a pathetically transparent fundraising attempt (see this MDN story). Yeah, same organization. Makes you wonder if this latest call to ban fracking is yet more fundraising on the part of F&WW.
Every Marcellus Shale well drilled has a heavy-duty plastic liner. When the well is finished being drilled, that plastic liner is usually disposed in a landfill. An interesting new joint venture between two Pennsylvania companies, WellSpring Environmental Services and Ultra-Poly Corporation, aims to recycle those pad liners. According to the companies, they will remove 20 million pounds of plastic well pad liner each year from the waste stream and ultimately turn it into products like composite railroad ties and building materials. The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection has already granted the two companies their blessing (and permission) for the plan.
Once again capitalism and the free market (not government regulation) solves the problem. From the WellSpring news release:
The anger-challenged actor Alec Baldwin writes an anti-fracking blog post for the Huffington Post. It’s meant to bring pressure on one person: NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The post is incoherent (and narcissistic), as is usual for Baldwin. MDN only mentions and links to it for entertainment value, since you know, Alec is an entertainer (the one job he’s good at—when he’s not in an out-of-control rage).