Hydrofracking

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Re: Hydrofracking

Postby Brenda » Wed May 18, 2011 10:10 am

DEP fines Chesapeake $1 million
Decision cites contaminated water wells in Bradford County

12:43 AM, May. 18, 2011
Written by
Marc Levy
Associated Press

HARRISBURG -- One of the most active companies in Pennsylvania's natural gas drilling boom was fined more than $1 million on Tuesday, including a penalty that state officials called the single largest fine for an oil or gas operator in the state.

The state Department of Environmental Protection said the action stems from Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s contamination of private water supplies with methane in Bradford County and a February tank fire at a drilling site in Washington County in southwestern Pennsylvania.

"It is important to me and to this administration that natural gas drillers are stewards of the environment, take very seriously their responsibilities to comply with our regulations, and that their actions do not risk public health and safety or the environment," DEP Secretary Michael Krancer said in a statement.

Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake said it had voluntarily entered into two separate agreements with the DEP and improved its well construction practices, although it did not assume blame for methane gas migrating into wells.

"Even though the results of our joint review remain inconclusive at this time, we believe proceeding with an agreement and taking prompt steps to enhance our casing and cementing practices and procedures was the right thing to do," Chesapeake official Brian Grove said in a statement.

Chesapeake will pay $900,000 in the gas migration case and $188,000 for the tank fire.

Bradford Co. wells

The DEP said that improper well casing and cementing allowed natural gas to seep into groundwater and contaminate 16 families' drinking water wells in Bradford County in Tuscarora, Terry, Monroe, Towanda and Wilmot townships near Chesapeake's shale drilling operations.

The department began investigating the complaints last year. In November, it won approval of stronger well-casing and cementing rules that a top DEP official has said would have prevented the gas migration.

The agreement requires Chesapeake to create a corrective action plan for the contaminated wells and clean up the contaminated water supplies. Chesapeake also will have to report water supply complaints to the DEP.

However, Mike Phillips, whose well in Terry Township was contaminated by Chesapeake, according to the DEP, said Tuesday that the fine doesn't resolve the ongoing and serious problems with his household water supply. He said a whole-house treatment system installed recently by Chesapeake didn't work, and instead made his young family sick.

His family, he said, is back to using a "water buffalo," a large plastic tank that supplies water for washing dishes and flushing toilets.

"They are paying the fine, but they, in my opinion, are still legally allowed to contaminate my water," said Phillips, who was hosting a meeting in his home Tuesday evening with Krancer of the DEP.

In Avella, in southwestern Pennsylvania, three condensate separator tanks caught fire on Feb. 23, injuring three subcontractors working at the site, the DEP said.

The agency blamed improper handling and management of condensate, a wet gas, and is requiring Chesapeake to submit condensate-management plans.

Federal scrutiny

The fines come as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking closely at how Pennsylvania is regulating the rush to explore the lucrative Marcellus Shale formation, considered the nation's largest natural gas reservoir, and putting pressure on state regulators to toughen enforcement.

For instance, the EPA has asked for a full accounting of operations of a Chesapeake well blowout in April in Leroy Township in Bradford County.

Any potential violations from that blowout are not included in the fines announced Tuesday. The accident spilled thousands of gallons of chemical-laced water and prompted officials to ask seven families to temporarily evacuate.

Chesapeake is perhaps the most active company in the Marcellus Shale, with more than 360 wells drilled. It has received more than 1,200 well-drilling permits -- the most of any operator -- or about one in six issued on the Marcellus Shale in the last three years, according to state records.

In 2010, Chesapeake was also one of Pennsylvania's most-penalized Marcellus Shale drillers, with 134 violations and 25 enforcements, state records say.

Private lawsuits

Chesapeake also is facing lawsuits over the tank fire and gas migration.

Peter Cambs, a lawyer who represents several plaintiffs in Bradford County who have sued Chesapeake over methane contamination, said the fine is the latest indication that gas drilling can be hazardous.

"I think it clearly shows there are problems and I don't think the DEP would just willy-nilly assess a fine of that magnitude based on a whim or speculation," Cambs said.

"They wouldn't have done so without careful investigation or analysis. I think you're going to see more and more of these findings."

http://www.theithacajournal.com/article/20110517/NEWS01/105170345/DEP-fines-Chesapeake-1-million?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE
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Re: Hydrofracking

Postby hobkyl » Wed May 18, 2011 5:41 pm

:headshake: Im sorry I turned this into an arguement; wasnt my intention...just trying to play devils advocate and I also really get annoyed when I read false claims, and stories touted as the truth by a director and an actor with no scientific knowledge of the impacts posed.

I understand that there has been spills and other issues. That happens with all harvesting of raw materials from the earth. Nothing is fool proof. BP is constantly paying fines and being sued for oil spills/explosions that occur on their watch.

Again, what is the proposed viable alternative? When push comes to shove...they are gonna drill anyway. Might not be for 50 years...but they will eventually.

We will just agree to disagree on this ;) The thread is yours.
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Re: Hydrofracking

Postby Brenda » Thu May 19, 2011 8:07 am

hobkyl wrote::headshake: Im sorry I turned this into an arguement; wasnt my intention...just trying to play devils advocate and I also really get annoyed when I read false claims, and stories touted as the truth by a director and an actor with no scientific knowledge of the impacts posed.


I really get annoyed when you assume that just because he's "a director and an actor" that he doesn't have any "scientific knowledge of the impacts posed." Why does someone have to have a degree in a certain field to gain knowledge about it? He started this journey because much like myself he was approached about leasing his land and he wanted to know more. It's not as if he hasn't researched the subject and consulted with experts.

I don't mind you playing devil's advocate at all. I can handle it.
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Re: Hydrofracking

Postby Brenda » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:18 am

N.Y. to sue over hydrofracking study
Attorney general tells federal agencies to examine Delaware River basin

6:00 AM, Jun. 1, 2011
Written by
Jon Campbell

ALBANY — Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday he is suing a handful of federal agencies in an attempt to force a full study of the potential environmental impacts of natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River basin.

The attorney general's office contends the government is obligated under the National Environmental Policy Act to undertake such a study because several federal agencies are part of the Delaware River Basin Commission. The law requires an Environmental Impact Statement when a federal agency takes a "major action."

Schneiderman delivered an ultimatum to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in April, telling them to launch a study within 30 days or face a lawsuit.

"Before any decisions on drilling are made, it is our responsibility to follow the facts and understand the public health and safety effects posed by potential natural gas development," Schneiderman said Tuesday in a statement. "The federal government has an obligation to undertake the necessary studies, and as I made clear last month, this office will compel it to do so."

The river basin covers parts of four states, includes portions of Broome, Delaware, Chenango and Ulster counties in New York, as well as a significant chunk of the New York City watershed.

In a letter sent last week to Schneiderman and obtained by Gannett's Albany Bureau, Army Corps Division Commander Peter DeLuca said he disagrees with the attorney general's assessment. DeLuca contends that since the federal government is only one of five entities in the Delaware River Basin Commission — along with New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey — it is not subject to the National Environmental Policy Act as Schneiderman claims.

Several federal agencies participate as part of the commission, with the Army Corps playing a lead role. The Army Corps is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, along with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Army Corps' North Atlantic Division referred inquiries to the U.S. Department of Justice, which will defend the federal agencies in court. Wyn Hornbuckle, a Justice Department spokesman, said the department had received the complaint and was in the process of reviewing it.

Read more here: http://www.theithacajournal.com/article ... |FRONTPAGE
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Re: Hydrofracking

Postby Brenda » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:08 am

:lol: :up:

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Re: Hydrofracking

Postby bremer » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:39 pm

Its critical that hydraulic fracturing is made as safe as possible as soon as possible but what seems lost on many people is that it WILL be drilled. Oil will be essentially gone in 100 years and gas will easily cost 10-20 times as much (without inflation) in my lifetime. No one wants ANWR to be drilled but everyone uses oil/gas. No one wants to live near a landfill but everyone produces refuse. No one wants to see the local river dammed but everyone uses electricity. No one wants to see their local forest logged but everyone uses timber/paper. I certainly don't WANT gas drilling to take place in the FLX. I wish it wasn't necessary but until I start living in the woods off the grid I don't see how I can legitimately fight hydraulic fracturing from a fundamental standpoint.

Most of the existing problems shown in those documentaries are from vertical gas wells that already exist across the U.S. and are common in Western NY. Hydraulic fracturing cannot directly contaminate the groundwater any more than "normal" gas drilling can. The last remaining piece of the puzzle is to ensure that WWTP's are equipped to handle the fluid. As of now much of the fluid is taken by train and dumped down exhausted vertical wells in the midwest. Everyone should be in support of studies on the fluid coming out of the ground and its treatment, but outright fighting horizontal drilling from ever taking place seems hypocritical and unrealistic to me.
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Re: Hydrofracking

Postby Brenda » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:09 pm

New deadline for N.Y. fracking review draws mixed reviews
7:04 AM, Jun. 6, 2011
Written by
Jon Campbell

ALBANY -- A directive last week from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office to expand the state's ongoing review of natural-gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing drew praise from environmental groups and some lawmakers.

But it was the very last line of that directive that left some of them a bit miffed.

After asking the DEC to visit the site of a Pennsylvania gas well blowout, Cuomo's office ordered for a second draft of the DEC's environmental review to be "completed for issuance by July 1, 2011."

The move enacted a firm deadline for the first time, and it gave the gas industry a glimmer of hope that the process is moving ahead.

Some environmentalists said they weren't pleased with the new deadline, urging the Cuomo administration not to place any time limits on the nearly three-year-old review process.

"For us, I think it's disappointing," said Roger Downs, conservation associate for the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. "We know (the DEC) has an enormous amount of work to do, and that now the administration has loaded up another study to do and it appears they've given them less time."

High-volume hydrofracking is the injection of millions of gallons of a mix of water, sand and chemicals to break up shale formations, such as the Marcellus Shale.

Proponents say it could bring a much-needed economic boost to the upstate region, while some say the environmental risks outweigh the potential rewards. Meanwhile, high-volume fracking remains on hold in New York until a final, non-draft version of the DEC review is put in place.

An executive order from former Gov. David Paterson and extended by Cuomo asked for a second draft of the environmental review to be released "on or about June 1," but DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens had said publicly the department had planned to work on it over the summer.

Martens, a Cuomo appointee, twice declined to speak with reporters as he headed to meetings in the Capitol on Thursday, and a spokesman said the commissioner would be unavailable for comment on Friday.

Michael Bopp, the DEC spokesman, said the department is in the process of putting a plan in place to meet the new deadline. A Cuomo aide said the governor's office is confident the DEC has the resources to complete the draft.

"DEC is organizing staff and workflow to ensure we meet the target date," Bopp said. "Plans for public review and comment are pending and will be announced when we complete the revised draft."

A spokesman for a gas-industry trade group said three years is long enough when it comes to this type of review, and the July 1 deadline was much welcomed.

"I think this is good news, because we were potentially looking at a later date," said Jim Smith, spokesman for the Independent Oil & Gas Association of NY. "It appears that this date is more solid, and I think represents progress, and progress is good. We're looking forward to see (the draft review) and moving to the next stage of this process."

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, D-Ithaca, said the deadline is ill advised. She sent a letter to the governor last month, urging him to put an immediate pause to the process so the public can comment on new issues that have come to light since the DEC began the review in July 2008.

"I'm glad the governor is asking the DEC to look at the blowout in Pennsylvania. That's the positive news," Lifton said. "But it's a little contradictory to say you have to do more -- go to Pennsylvania and study this blowout -- but then move it up from end of summer to July 1."

Not all environmentalists, however, share her concern. William Cooke, director of government relations for Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said his group is monitoring the situation, but doesn't believe the new deadline will make much of a difference.

Even after the second draft of the report is released, the DEC would still have several steps to take before hydrofracking permits are to be issued. A public comment period would follow, and a final review would have to be issued before that can take place.

"We don't have enough information to really be able to understand its intent," Cooke said of Cuomo's new deadline. "Was it an unusual twist? Sure. Was it totally out of left field? No."


http://www.theithacajournal.com/article/20110605/NEWS01/106050340/New-deadline-N-Y-fracking-review-draws-mixed-reviews?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE
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Re: Hydrofracking

Postby Brenda » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:12 pm

Ithacans to join national anti-drilling day June 25
9:22 PM, Jun. 5, 2011
Written by
Alyson Martin

A regional "Day of Action Against Fracking" will have a local presence on June 25, when residents against natural-gas drilling will gather at Ithaca College.

The Epic No Frack Event will be held from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. at the Whalen Center, Ford Hall and Campus Center. There will be speakers, including Sandra Steingraber, an Ithaca College professor and author of "Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis." Other speakers will include a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency whistleblower and several filmmakers.

The event concerns hydraulic fracturing, a technique used to break up tight shale formations and release natural gas. The process involves the blasting of millions of gallons of the chemically treated water deep underground to reach the formations, such as the Marcellus Shale under New York's Southern Tier and portions of the Hudson Valley.

"Fracking is the biggest threat to environmental health in this area of upstate New York that I've ever come across in 20 years of looking at public health threats," Steingraber said. "Happily, because we have a temporary moratorium here, New York is alone in kind of pushing the pause button. So we have some time to ask ourselves whether this is something that we want to permit or prohibit."

Among the movies that will be shown are "Fracking Hell: The Untold Story," "Frac Attack," and "Water Isn't Water Anymore." Performers LRevolution, B.B. Beatriz Ramirez, Janet Burgan, Jayne and Bram Pomplas, among others, will provide music.

Also held the same day will be a rally in New York City at Foley Square, the site of Collect Pond, which used to be a fresh water source for city residents. It has since been drained because of pollution.

Many communities across the state will assemble their own demonstrations on June 25 as well, in reaction to fracking. The Capital District, for example, will host a rally at noon at Wallenburg Park. The Capital District Against Fracking group has held a rally each month since March.

"In many other nations, this power is greatly limited and belittled, but it is the foundation of the United States of America, and we will be tarred and feathered before we allow our priceless water and air to succumb to ruin," their website reads.

Other events relating to fracking are planned for June. For more information, see www.gasmain.org.


http://www.theithacajournal.com/article/20110605/NEWS01/106050339/Ithacans-join-national-anti-drilling-day-June-25?odyssey=obinsite
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Re: Hydrofracking

Postby Brenda » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:28 am

Report: Lift of fracking ban would generate $11.4B for N.Y. by 2020
7:45 PM, Jun. 7, 2011
Written by
Jon Campbell

ALBANY -- New York could see $11.4 billion in economic activity by 2020 and up to 18,000 new jobs by 2015 if the state allows gas companies to drill into the massive Marcellus Shale formation, according to a report released Tuesday by a conservative think tank.

The report, paid for by the business-backed Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, found that state and local governments would gain $1.4 billion in tax revenues alone over the next nine years.

The study's authors -- who also penned a report in 2009 that was partially commissioned by the natural-gas industry and released through Pennsylvania State University -- also found that the typical Marcellus Shale gas well reaps about $4 million in economic benefits, while the environmental impacts come to about $14,000 per well.

Their study is based on a prediction of 330 horizontal wells in New York, which primary author Timothy Considine said is a conservative estimate. The number could expand five-fold, he said, if gas companies decide to tap into the Utica Shale -- a much larger formation that lies below the Marcellus.

Both formations lie below large portions of New York, with the Marcellus region taking up much of the Southern Tier and part of the Hudson Valley.

"It could be much larger than the numbers projected in my report," said Considine, a professor at the University of Wyoming. "The $11.4 billion number is based on a fairly limited development scenario in the Southern Tier of New York, like Broome and Chemung counties."

The figures include both direct and indirect streams of economic activity, such as the spin off to other manufacturing, construction and retail industries. Considine said the financial estimates are based on activity that has taken place in Bradford, Tioga and Susquehanna counties in Pennsylvania, where high-volume fracking has been permitted since 2008.

Natural gas advocates hailed the report, which they said validates what they've said since the technique was first put on hold in New York in July 2008 so the Department of Environmental Conservation could review its environmental impact. That study continues, with a second draft due by July and high-volume fracking still on hold until a final review is complete.

Read more here: http://www.theithacajournal.com/article/20110607/NEWS10/106070361/Report-Lift-fracking-ban-would-generate-11-4B-N-Y-by-2020?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE
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Re: Hydrofracking

Postby Brenda » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:31 am

Pressure builds in Pa. for movement on a Marcellus tax
9:45 PM, Jun. 7, 2011
Written by
Marc Levy

HARRISBURG -- Accusing the government of being unable to protect the environment or public health, more than 200 people rallied on Tuesday in the Pennsylvania Capitol for tougher laws -- if not an outright ban -- on natural gas drilling as pressure builds on state lawmakers to approve a levy on the booming industry.

The rally comes on the heels of an announcement by two more Republican lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Legislature that they're sponsoring bills to impose a tax or fee on Marcellus Shale gas extraction.

More than 10 lawmakers have now introduced or said they plan to introduce a measure imposing a tax or fee as drilling crews fan out across large swaths of northern and western Pennsylvania.

It appears likely that lawmakers will force floor votes on a tax or fee proposal by trying to attach amendments to unrelated bills, as lawmakers rush to finish the state budget this month and depart Harrisburg for the rest of the summer.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati told Gov. Tom Corbett in a closed-door meeting Monday that the governor and the other top Republican lawmakers in the room had better figure out which proposal they're in favor of because of the likelihood that floor debates and votes are unavoidable.

"I think we're going to face votes here in the Senate and the House amending various bills (and) that's going to require various legislators to determine what they're for and what they're against, and should something ultimately be passed through both chambers, I think it requires input from the governor's office," said Scarnati, R-Jefferson.

The debate over a tax or a fee has dragged on since then-Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, first proposed it in early 2009, but ran into Republican resistance. Pennsylvania remains the largest gas-drilling state without such a tax and Corbett, a Republican, opposes the imposition of one.

Corbett has said he would consider a fee that helps pay for the impact the industry creates on drilling communities, while clear majorities in the House and Senate appear to be in favor of some type of levy.

However, timing is an issue.

Read more here: http://www.theithacajournal.com/article/20110607/NEWS01/106070365/Pressure-builds-Pa-movement-Marcellus-tax?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE
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Re: Hydrofracking

Postby Brenda » Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:14 pm

Ithaca College to host gas-drilling protest
'Epic No Frack Event' to feature films, music
12:19 AM, Jun. 22, 2011
Written by
Alyson Martin

An "Epic No Frack Event" is planned for Saturday at Ithaca College to raise awareness about potential environmental hazards relating to hydraulic gas fracturing.

Jeff and Jodi Andrysick planned and funded the event, which will combine speakers, film screenings, and musical performances. Sessions are planned from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. Saturday at Ithaca College's Whalen Center, Ford Hall and Campus Center.

The event comes as municipalities across the state grapple with decisions regarding hydraulic fracturing -- pumping water and chemicals into the ground to release natural gas from the Marcellus Shale. A meeting held in the Town of Caroline last week attracted more than 250 residents and prompted a circulated petition that garnered more than 900 signatures against the practice.

Tables are available for rental at $75 for non-profit groups and $125 for businesses by contacting organizers through their http://www.allfrackedup.com website.

Admission to the "Epic No Fracking Event" is free, but the couple hosting the event is accepting donations to defray some of the costs.

A number of other events against hydraulic fracturing will be held the same day. A rally in New York City at Foley Square will take place at the site of Collect Pond, which was once a fresh water source for city residents, but has since been drained because of pollution. The Capital District will host a rally at noon at Wallenburg Park in Albany.

http://www.theithacajournal.com/article/20110621/NEWS01/106210347/Ithaca-College-host-gas-drilling-protest?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE
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Re: Hydrofracking

Postby Brenda » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:28 am

Gushers highlight potential of Pa. gas field
Cabot strikes it big at 2 well sites

6:07 PM, Jun. 26, 2011
Written by
Michael Rubinkam

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- Two unexpected gushers in northeastern Pennsylvania are helping to illustrate the enormous potential of the Marcellus Shale natural gas field.

Each of the Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. wells in Susquehanna County is capable of producing 30 million cubic feet per day -- believed to be a record for the Marcellus and enough gas to supply nearly 1,000 homes for a year.

The landowners attached to the wells, who leased the well access, numbering fewer than 25, are splitting hundreds of thousands of dollars in monthly royalties.

"There was definitely excitement among the team that planned out these wells and executed their completion," said Cabot spokesman George Stark.

Drilling companies knew the Marcellus held a lot of gas. They just had to figure out a way to get it out, and they say they're getting better at it all the time.

The result is that the Marcellus, a rock formation beneath Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Ohio, has turned out to be an even more prolific source of gas than anyone anticipated.

Energy firms are boosting their production targets, not only because new wells are coming on line but also because they're managing to coax more gas from each well.

Operators say they have a greater understanding of the complicated geology of the Marcellus, allowing them to land their drill bits in the sweet spot of the formation.

Read more here: http://www.theithacajournal.com/article ... |FRONTPAGE
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