Once Again Boys & Girls, Fracking Does Not Cause Earthquakes

In cycles of about every six months, we get a new round of stories along the lines that "fracking causes earthquakes too!" Which is not true. Or mostly not true. As with all things shale-related, anti-drillers take a kernel of truth and blow it out of proportion, making it untrue. That’s the case with fracking and earthquakes.

A British scientist leading a research team at Durham University has just published new research analyzing "hundreds of thousands" of cases of fracking to see whether or not they produced earthquakes. What did the researchers find? In hundreds of thousands of cases of fracking, there have been three cases where earthquakes were caused by the fracking that could be felt–and they were extremely mild, on the low end of the Richter scale. Three. Let’s run the numbers. If we assume the sample size was 300,000, 3 divided by 300,000 is 0.00001. Your odds of getting struck by lightening standing on one foot in the middle of a snow storm in Bali are greater. Yeah, fracking does not cause earthquakes–ever. So what about the earthquakes in Youngstown last year?…

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PJM Case Study: Changing from Coal to NatGas for Power Generation

PJM is a regional transmission organization (RTO) coordinating the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia (essentially Appalachia or the northeastern U.S.). SNL Financial has crafted an excellent analysis of natural gas deliveries to the electrical generating plants of the PJM and has found that since 2008, natgas deliveries have doubled to PJM power plants–mostly due to their geography, sitting atop the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays.

The article beings this way:

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Flags at Half-Staff Again – Another NY Town (Stupidly) Bans Fracking

Lower the flags at town halls across the state to half-staff once again to mourn the fact that another small misguided group of people have destroyed any chance their neighbors will be able to lease their land and allow safe drilling for natural gas. This time it’s happened in the Town of Otisco, NY. The vote to strip away landowners’ rights was unanimous by five people–we list their names below and when their terms expire just in case you want to vote against them next time around…

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Radioactive Frack Waste Regs Coming Out of the Ohio Budget Bill

Three Ohio state agencies requested a change in the way the state regulates and disposes of drilling waste that contains naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) and technologically-enhanced naturally occurring radioactive materials (TENORM). So new provisions were added to, of all things, the Ohio budget bill. Will politicians never learn?

Looks like the radioactive waste regulations are coming out of the budget bill and will instead be combined into their own, standalone bill. But that won’t happen until sometime this fall…

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PA Republicans Introduce Marcellus Tax Credits to Create Jobs

Pennsylvania Republicans want the burgeoning Marcellus Shale industry in the state to create even more jobs for Pennsylvanians–so they’ve introduced legislation that will grant tax credits (not assistance, just a break on high taxes) to companies that do things like convert fleets of vehicles from running on gasoline to running on CNG (compressed natural gas). The amounts add up to a few million dollars, a fly speck in the overall budget, but of course it makes the state’s Democrats apoplectic:

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