Those who hate fossil fuels and want to stop all shale drilling because of their irrational beliefs are logic-challenged. Witness their claim/belief that fracking fluid (99.5% water and sand, 0.5% chemicals) pumped a mile or more below the surface will magically travel up to the surface and contaminate groundwater supplies. Never mind that 80% of the fluid disappears into small cracks a mile down. Never mind there’s a mile of solid rock between the fluid and the surface. Never mind there have been more than 50,000 horizontally fracked wells since the early 2000s with not a single case of water contamination from migrating frack fluid. And never mind there have been more than 2 million vertically fracked wells worldwide over the past 60+ years with not a single case of water contamination from migrating frack fluid. Anti-drillers cling to their irrational faith that fluid migration has and continues to happen and hucksters like Josh Fox of Gasland and Gasland 2 fame are all too willing to feed their delusion.
Enter the federal government–specifically the Dept. of Energy (DOE) under Barack H. Obama, no friend of the oil and gas industry. Exactly one year ago the DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in Pittsburgh began an experiment of injecting tracer chemicals in fracking fluid at an undisclosed drill site with eight wells in Greene County, PA. (The driller cooperating with NETL to conduct the experiment is unidentified, although MDN has a pretty good guess as to who it is–see below.) The NETL monitored (and continues to monitor) the eight wells over the past year and although the data is still preliminary, what have they found? No migration of fracking fluid toward the surface. Zero. It’s called science–but don’t tell Josh Fox and the nuts who believe him…
Yesterday, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Justice announced a deal with XTO Energy to resolve what they say was a violation of the Clean Water Act in 2010 when XTO experienced a spill of fracking wastewater from a storage tank in Lycoming County, PA.
That spill is going to cost XTO dearly: a $100,000 fine, and another $20 million to craft a “comprehensive plan to improve wastewater management”…
Are you a landowner in Pennsylvania leased with Chesapeake Energy? And if you are, do you feel cheated with your royalty payments? If so, you may want to join what’s shaping up to be a class action lawsuit in PA against Chessy over what some claim are underpaid royalties.
Landowners are being pursued by a couple of Scranton-area lawyers working with a couple of out-of-state lawyers–from New York City–to go after Chesapeake on the issue of what they say are shorted royalty payments. Are these lawyers champions of the downtrodden, defending the rights of shafted landowners? Or the real estate equivalent of ambulance chasers? You decide…
Clean Water Action (CWA), an anti-drilling, anti-fossil fuel 501(c)(4) non-profit group is using money from the war chest of its big liberal donors to sue a legitimate, small, private business. In a press release yesterday, CWA announced they’re filing a lawsuit against Waste Treatment Corporation, alleging WTC is illegally discharging oil and gas drilling wastewater into the Allegheny River in violation of Pennsylvania state regulations. But wait–isn’t it the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) job to monitor and punish wrongdoers who break the rules? Yep. But that doesn’t stop out-of-control groups like the CWA.
WTC says they are operating according to the letter of the law and have violated no DEP regulations…
A few days ago MDN told you about title researchers who camp out all night long in front and around the side of the Tyler County, WV Courthouse in order to secure a spot in the land records office the next day (see Title Researchers Camp Out at Tyler County (WV) Clerk’s Office). Nearby neighbors were fed up with the situation–noise, littering, etc. So local officials put their heads together and crafted a system they hope will be fair to all: a lottery.
Starting today, the county clerk will draw numbers to allow 96 people into her land records office–its maximum capacity–for any given day (16 people at a time for 2 hours each). She hopes the lottery will eliminate the need to camp out all night long…
The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: