Every Saturday the one-hour Shale Gas News show airs on Scranton, PA’s 94.3 FM “The Talker” radio station. The show is co-hosted by Kevin Lynn of Linde Corporation and Bill desRosiers from Cabot Oil & Gas. MDN brings you the latest program show notes and recordings for Shale Gas News each week (well worth your time to listen). Here’s the latest program, recorded on Saturday, Feb 7…
The Shale Gas News is typically broadcast live and this past Saturday’s program, the podcast of which is available here, covered the following new territory (see news excerpts below) and, among many more topics, included an interview with Tom Shepstone, publisher of the NaturalGasNOW.org blog:
- Some say the Borough of Jessup’s zoning rules are unclear on whether a gas power plant can be permitted in a region near the Casey Highway. Meanwhile, union workers came out to support the Invenergy power plant one. A month after local environmental activists and concerned residents declared themselves opposed to a planned gas-fired power plant in Jessup, another group has emerged in support of the facility. Workers in construction, electrical and building trade unions have joined to form Jobs for Jessup, the group’s spokesman and Laborers’ International Union of North America member Dave Horn said. He’s also a business development representative for Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust, a partnership between unions and their employers that frequently backs energy projects. “We just felt like on our side, we needed to get involved as well,” he said.
- Proposed legislation links a proposed Pennsylvania severance tax with the existing impact fee. Their proposed severance tax rate would be much lower than the 5 percent severance tax rate suggested by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf during last year’s campaign and proposed by other lawmakers of both parties. But Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bensalem, said Wednesday combining a 3.2 percent tax rate with the impact fee at an effective 2 percent rate would mean an overall 5 percent tax rate for the Marcellus gas industry. He said lawmakers representing shale counties want to keep impact fees because they are popular with local officials. Local governments use the revenue for road and other infrastructure projects, public safety and environmental purposes. Keeping the impact fee is viewed as necessary to getting the votes to pass a severance tax in the Legislature.
- The National Park Service Superintendent for the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River (Kristina Heister – pictured to right) reported on natural gas tour she took, using the opportunity to bash prospects for natural gas drilling in the Upper Delaware region. Unlike Bradford and Susquehanna counties, where there is more open agricultural land, she said that fragmenting the heavy forest could lead to erosion and degradation. Tom Shepstone, in our interview with him, said the statement reveals an appalling lack of knowledge of what’s really happening with forestland in the region and an unfortunate and inappropriate bias, not to mention what she apparently didn’t want learn on her tour; that natural gas development has been good for wildlife and allowed farmers to keep land in forest rather than clearing it.
- The Wyoming County Board of Commissioners are contracting for air quality studies in connection with a proposed silica sand facility transfer facility in Tunkhannock. While it seemed as though an agreement had finally been reached between the Wyoming County Commissioners and Dr. Timothy McAuley of Consulting for Health, Air, Nature & a Greener Environment (CHANGE) for consultation of air monitoring tests, a vague contract forced a renegotiation and a subsequent higher fee. Earlier this month, commissioners agreed on a $7,500 contract with CHANGE that would allow McAuley to review any and all air monitoring data collected by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The air monitoring is in response to the imminent construction of a silica transfer facility in Tunkhannock Township.
- The White House budget asks for $10K electric-car credits and natural-gas cars would be eligible as well. It would also convert the tax credit to a purchase rebate. This could potentially have a greater impact because a discount would be applied at the time of purchase.