PA DEP Releases List of Water Wells Impacted by Shale Drilling

perspectiveHere comes the next media smear campaign. This time the meme is “You know that lie we’ve been telling about how shale drilling contaminates water wells? Well it was true all along. Here’s the proof!” Case in point: The Associate Press has a single, breathless story of a new list just released by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) of 243 water wells “contaminated” by Marcellus Shale drilling. We’ve included the list below. These 243 are wells DEP officials believe have been affected by shale drilling after conducting an investigation. Some of the cases are still under investigation but included on the list because the DEP thinks they were likely contaminated by drilling. Is this the smoking gun? Is Marcellus drilling a threat to water after all? As always, MDN is here to provide some much needed perspective…
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Report: Marcellus Worth Another $90 Billion, 25K Wells Thru 2035

Wood Mackenzie (WM) is a global energy, metals and mining research and consulting company based in Edinburgh, Scotland with 25 offices around the world, including Houston, TX. The company has just released a new report on the Marcellus Shale. The report, titled “Marcellus Key Play Analysis,” contains some interesting findings. Among them: WM analysts say there is $90 billion left in the Marcellus Shale. That number is calculated as how much revenue drillers will derive from selling the gas they mine from the play minus development costs. The report estimates that the top 20 drillers in the Marcellus will drill 25,000 wells in the play through 2035. Improved efficiency has lowered drilling costs according to WM. But the real secret, according to WM, to unlocking value in both the Marcellus and other shale plays is…
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Marshall County Votes to Accept Gas-Powered Electric Plant

In April MDN told you about a plan from a Buffalo, NY company to build an electric generating power plant in Marshall County, WV that will use Marcellus Shale gas to power it (see Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant Coming to Marshall County, WV). The plan is a bit complicated, as we’ve previously outlined. In essence, Moundsville Power, the name of the company, will build the plant and then turn over the deed to the plant to the county. Since it will be county-owned, on paper, the company will not pay any property taxes. Instead, they will pay annual “rental” payments to the county in lieu of property taxes (see Complicated Deal for Proposed WV Gas-Powered Electric Plant). It makes the project affordable and doable. County officials recently approved the plan…
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Anti-Drillers Send PA DEP Letter: You’re Falling Down on the Job

A group of virulently anti-drilling (and anti-fossil fuel) groups sent a nasty-gram letter to Pennsylvania Secretary of the Dept. of Environmental Protection, Chris Abruzzo, essentially telling him he’s not doing is job. The groups, sprearheaded by the wacky Sierra Club, THE Delaware Riverkeeper (the haughty and arrogant Maya van Rossum), and PennEnvironment, cite a completely discredited “report” from the politically-motivated Auditor General, Eugene DePasquale (see Anti-Drilling PA Auditor General Criticizes DEP in “Report”), along with other so-called reports from groups like the half-baked Earthworks, to accuse the DEP of being sloppy, neglectful, obstructionist, or all three. Mainstream media spins this as “environment groups send a letter to the DEP with their concerns.” It’s nothing of the sort. It’s pure horse manure and frankly, meaningless…
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PA Spending $6M on Program to Convert Vehicles to Natgas

The Pennsylvania Marcellus is a gift that keeps on giving. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett announced yesterday that the third round of funding from Act 13 funds to convert vehicles to run on natural gas will open tomorrow–August 30th. So far PA has collected over $600 million in “impact fees” from Marcellus drillers under the Act 13 law passed by Corbett early in his administration. Most (60%) of impact fee revenue goes back to the local communities where drilling occurs–to compensate them for the hassles or “impacts” that come with drilling. But 40% of the impact fee money goes to communities (or programs) with no active drilling. We uncharitably call it political walking around money. Necessary to grease the hands of greedy politicians. Some of that walking around money goes to fund the conversion of cars and trucks to run on compressed natural gas–a worthy cause in our opinion. This time around $6 million of impact fee money will go to fund natgas vehicle conversions. Who can apply? Just about anyone–except individuals. It must be a company, non-profit or government agency/entity…
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PA PUC Appeals Act 13 Case to Supreme Court One More Time

It seems there’s still a bit of unfinished business with the ongoing, never-ending lawsuits around the Act 13 oil and gas drilling law in Pennsylvania. At least one final bit of unfinished business. You will recall that seven selfish towns sued the state over the Act 13 law and it’s provision that would substitute a statewide, uniform and fair set of zoning ordinances for drilling in place of a patchwork, crazy quilt system of local ordinances for oil and gas drilling. These seven selfish towns wanted their own ordinances and sued, ultimately winning at the Supreme Court (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). The PA Supremes couldn’t, however, be bothered with deciding every tiny bit of nuance and sent some items back to the lower Commonwealth Court for final decisions. One of those decisions was about whether or not the PA Public Utility Commission (PUC) has the right to review any local oil and gas ordinances for compliance with state standards, making the award of impact fee money to a town based on such compliance. The Commonwealth Court gutted that right, taking it away from the PUC in a July decision (see PA Court Says 7 Towns Can Keep Marcellus Money & Ban Drilling Too). The PUC has appealed that decision back up to the Supremes…
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Enviro Emergency: 570 Methane Plumes Discovered Along East Coast

You know how dangerous that filty, vile fugitive is, fugitive methane, right? “Learned” professors like Cornell’s Robert Howarth and Tony Ingraffea have used all sorts of money from the Park Foundation to spin out “studies” to try and convince us that too much methane from natural gas drilling is escaping into the atmosphere where it’s baking Mother Earth with global warming (even though the forecast for the next year is cooler than normal, ahem). So imagine our surprise when we saw a newly released study that says researchers have noticed more than 570 (!) methane “seeps”–places where methane is leaking pell-mell into the atmosphere–from the ocean floor along the East Coast. And just where are Howarth and Ingraffea now, when there’s a five alarm methane emergency coming from Mother Earth?…
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