EPA Abandons Pavillion, Can’t Prove Fracking/Water Contamination

throw in the towelThe federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been desperate to make a connection between fracking and groundwater contamination from chemicals and thought they had a winner in Pavillion, Wyoming (see EPA Keeps Investigating Fracking/Water Contamination in WY). Don’t tell Josh Fox of Gasland and Gasland 2 infamy (who prominently featured Pavillion in both his movies), but yesterday the EPA announced they’ve thrown in the towel and given up on trying to prove a fracking/water contamination connection in Pavillion. It is a tacit admission they screwed up in their testing, as maintained all along by the American Petroleum Institute (see API Says EPA Botched Pavillion, WY Fracking Tests).

The EPA now says, essentially: “We’ll let Wyoming take over the investigation so its done right.” No doubt EPA’s decision to abandon Pavillion will provide the tinfoil hat brigade with lots of fodder for how “big oil and gas” has infiltrated and corrupted the activist Obama EPA. Here’s the full EPA statement issued yesterday:
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Home Rule Case Heads to Ohio Supreme Court

In February, Beck Energy won an appeal against Munroe Falls in Ohio’s Court of Appeals (Ninth District) which had the effect of striking down so-called “home rule” of oil and gas drilling (see OH Appeals Court Strikes Down Home Rule for Drilling). Ohio state law takes precedence over local laws when it comes to drilling, which was affirmed by the Ninth District judges. However, that mid-level court decision was appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court and the Supremes have just announced they’ve decided to take the case…
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U.S. Silica Getting $55K from Maryland to Expand HQ

From the “we never knew this, how very interesting” department: U.S. Silica, one of the country’s largest sand and proppant companies providing frack sand to drillers around the country, is headquartered in…anti-drilling Maryland? Yep–HQ for U.S. Silica is Frederick, MD–not all that far from both Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Maryland, like New York, is currently in the long, slow process of shooting itself in the head on the issue of fracking and shale drilling (see Food & Water Watch Pushes for Fracking Ban in Maryland).

Anywho, although Maryland doesn’t want drilling in the state, they’re happy to enable it in other states. The City of Frederick and the state of Maryland want to keep U.S. Silica (and its jobs) in place and are willing to give them $55,000 to do it…
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Will WV Resolve Legal Issues & Use Acid Mine Water for Fracking?

West Virginia, like Pennsylvania, has a problem with “mine influenced water” (MIW), commonly called acid mine drainage–water that seeps from abandoned coal mines into the environment. It’s a serious environmental threat in both states. WV lawmakers, like those in PA, would like to solve two problems at the same time: Get rid of the acid mine drainage by using it as a source of water for fracking shale wells (see PA Wants Drillers to Use Acid Mine Water in Fracking – Will They?).Can WV make it work when (so far) it hasn’t worked in PA?
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Flags at Half Staff: Rochester, NY Extends Fracking Moratorium

On Tuesday, Rochester, NY City Council voted 9-0 to extend ordinance No. 2012-269, a moratorium on shale gas drilling, until June 30, 2014 (a copy of the resolution is embedded below). A similar moratorium in Binghamton, NY was found illegal and tossed out by a judge last year (see NY Judge Throws Out Binghamton Fracking Moratorium). Just a few weeks ago, a town in Delaware County was sued for passing the same type of moratorium (see Exclusive: Sidney, NY Sued by Landowners over Fracking Moratorium). Perhaps City Council members and voters in Rochester simply like paying high taxes to defend lawsuits?
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GreenHunter Sells Some TX Operations, Focuses on Marcellus/Utica

Earlier this week, GreenHunter Resources, a fracking wastewater treatment and disposal company with major operations in the Marcellus/Utica, released their first quarter 2013 financial and operating results. A tad late, yes, since first quarter ended March 31. However, it’s an informative update with details on their Marcellus/Utica operations. Of note: the company either has or plans to sell some (most?) of its Texas operations to concentrate on the Marcellus/Utica and on manufacturing and selling its above ground portable tank solution–called the MAG Tank™.

You may recall GreenHunter is sitting on pins and needles waiting for the U.S. Coast Guard (and the White House, and the EPA, and…) to approve barge transportation of fracking wastewater. GreenHunter now owns seven barge facilities in the Marcellus/Utica (see The Long (Federal) Road to Approve GreenHunter’s Barge Terminals). The full GreenHunter 1Q13 update from Monday:
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Case Western Law Review Summer 2013: All About Fracking

Almost all of the Summer 2013 issue of the Case Western Reserve Law Review (507 pages) is dedicated to the legal and policy issues surrounding hydraulic fracturing and shale drilling. The articles range from policy to litigation to climate change. We’ve not reviewed the articles. We offer the full issue (embedded below) as a resource for legal issues surrounding the issue of fracking.
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The Surprising Number of New NatGas Pipelines Coming in OH

Permits and wells drilled is usually the focus in Ohio’s Utica Shale. However, there’s a story just as big: The number of pipelines either now being built–or planned–in eastern Ohio. How many pipelines would you guess are “in the pipeline” to be built? A dozen? A few dozen? How about, over 100. Yes, the number of planned pipelines in Ohio–from gathering lines to interstate transmission pipelines–is staggering.

Here’s a map from he Public Utilities Commission of Ohio that shows how many pipelines are being planned, by county:
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Iroquois Pipeline Files App for Constitution Interconnect in NY

In January, MDN told you about plans from the Iroquois Gas Transmission System to build a new interconnect and expand their compressor station in Wright, NY to connect to the new Constitution Pipeline that will be built by Williams to pipe Marcellus Shale gas from Susquehanna County, PA to Schoharie County, NY where it will connect to the Iroquois pipeline (see Iroquois Announces Interconnect for Constitution Pipeline in NY).

Last Friday, Iroquois announced they’ve officially filed the request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The filing says Iroquois plans to have the interconnect up and running by March 2015:
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MDN on a Short 2-Day Summer Break

Dear MDN Subscribers and Readers:

Marcellus Drilling News is taking a short break on Monday and Tuesday, June 24 & 25 to enjoy time away with family. We will return with our daily issues on Wednesday, June 26. If there’s any news of monumental importance in the interim, we’ll be sure to let you know via a special update.

Summer is officially here today, Friday, June 21! Happy Summer Solstice.

Jim Willis
Editor, MDN