Is there any chance that New York will move forward with releasing new shale gas drilling rules by Nov. 29, the one year anniversary after the last public hearing on the new rules (and by which the rules must be released or the rulemaking process restarts)? No. Not a chance.
Why? NY State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah has only just yesterday named three outside “experts” to help conduct a “health review” of New York’s proposed drilling regulations. The deadline given the experts to complete their review? “Mid-February.”
Seven liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals have officially been proposed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Another six have been informally proposed. FERC has twice delayed releasing their decision on whether or not to permit and allow exports of natural gas, coming under heavy criticism for the delays. According to Chris Smith with the Dept. of Energy, we’ll have a pretty good idea of which way FERC is leaning by the end of this year.
In comments at an industry event in Washington, D.C., Smith said FERC will release their LNG export report detailing the pros and cons for each site by the end of this year (see a map and list of all North American proposed import and export sites below). Although the report will be issued this year, a final decision from FERC will not be made until early next year.
Some energy producers at the Developing Unconventional Gas (DUG) East Conference in Pittsburgh went on record expressing their concerns that a rogue (MDN’s words) Obama EPA will soon make a power grab to control shale drilling through the back door of controlling hydraulic fracturing. In their words, they are “preparing for the worst,” although what those preparations include was unstated.
A new database of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has just been released by anti-drilling organization SkyTruth.org. The database uses publicly available information posted on FracFocus.org. According to SkyTruth, they make the FracFocus chemical data more accessible and easy to use.
Three months ago MDN told you about two health care networks joining forces to study the health effects of Marcellus drilling in Pennsylvania—Guthrie Health and Geisinger Health System (see this MDN story). You may now add a third health care system to the list. Susquehanna Health, serving northcentral PA, will join Guthrie and Geisinger in a multi-year study. Problem is, as far as MDN knows, the so-called study is still not funded (see this MDN story).
You can get as many partners as you want, but until someone (like the deep-pocketed health care systems themselves) comes up with money, the study is going nowhere fast. Here’s the press release from Susquehanna Health:
More feel-good stories of how the Marcellus Shale has almost single-handedly revived the short line railroad business. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has an excellent roundup piece that covers a number of short line railroads that have gotten a second chance because of the Marcellus. The article begins with this story about the Allegheny Valley Railroad company, located in a Pittsburgh suburb:
Two months ago Canadian firm EmberClear Corp. announced they will build a new 300 megawatt (MW) electrical generating plant west of Allentown, PA. The plant, called Good Spring NGCC 1, will cost $400 million to build and create $1 billion in economic impact for the community (see this MDN story). The original plan was to use coal to power the plant, but EmberClear changed and decided to use abundant, cheap Marcellus Shale gas instead.
Although construction on that plant has not yet begun, EmberClear announced on Tuesday of this week that they now plan to build a second 300 MW electrical generating plant on the same property—Good Spring NGCC 2—which will also use Marcellus natural gas for power. From the EmberClear announcement:
Exxon Mobil is a major disappointment. Since 2009 they’ve supported a so-called “carbon tax” over what they consider a less-desirable alternative—legislation capping carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide, in case you didn’t know, is the substance you breathe out with every breath you take. Plants breathe it in. Plants, on the other hand, expire oxygen that we animals breathe in—something called the circle of life. Obama and green wackos want to tax carbon dioxide emissions in the misbegotten belief it’s “polluting the planet” and that by taxing it, you will cause its use to go down. (Maybe a tax on breathing will be next?) Boggles the mind.
What boggles the mind even more is Exxon’s support for the idea. A carbon tax is nothing more than a huge, new tax increase that gives greedy politicians more money to play with, reduces manufacturing activity (and jobs at those manufacturers), and overall is about the worst idea anyone has had in oh, about a century.
Warning: If you voted for Obama and don’t like reading critiques of our Dear Leader, move along and don’t bother reading this post. You’ve been warned.
The former chief Republican counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and author William C. Triplett II has an article in yesterday’s Washington Times that is a must read. Triplett makes a visit to various shale plays around the country, including the Marcellus in West Virginia, and comes to the conclusion that the miracle of hydraulic fracturing is now the fourth economic revolution since the end of World War II (the others being the jet engine, integrated circuits/modern electronics and the Internet, all invented by Americans). Triplett expected to see an exciting new industry—what he didn’t expect, and found, were the stories of how the shale revolution has profoundly and positively affected individuals.