PA Marcellus News Digest
March 27, 2012
Act 13: What's Next
PECPA (Pennsylvania Environmental Council)
The continuing work of adapting Pennsylvania laws and regulations took a significant step forward in February 2012 with the signing of Act 13. But, for as difficult as it was to reach this milestone and though the legislation falls short of our expectations in certain aspects, it is only a step on the path to comprehensive energy development and regulation.
House approves 7.5% natural gas tax, highest in the Marcellus Shale states
House lawmakers Monday night passed a 7.5% state severance tax on natural gas in a 82-51 vote, after the delegates on Saturday fended off an amendment from Del. Wendell Beitzel, R-Garrett, that would cap state and local taxes on natural gas extraction at 7.5% combined.
Study: ’Fracking’ may increase air pollution health risks
Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times
Air pollution caused by hydraulic fracturing, a controversial oil and gas drilling method, may contribute to "acute and chronic health problems for those living near natural gas drilling sites," according to a new study from the Colorado School of Public Health.
Shrill noises from compressors could affect plants
A researcher at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina has linked noise pollution from by natural gas wells to effects on plants.
Shale execs debate on process of hydraulic fracturing
The Wall Street Journal spoke with Edward E Cohen, president and chief executive of Atlas Energy LP, and Aubrey K. McClendon, chairman and CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp., about the controversy surrounding the hydraulic fracturing process and the future of natural gas in the United States.
Mansfield initiates institute to educate gas-drilling workers
G. Jeffrey Aaron
Mansfield University, has announced the formation of The Marcellus Institute at Mansfield University, An Academic/Shale Gas Partnership.
The Institute will work with all segments of the gas industry to help meet the educational needs of employees as well as developing academic programs to prepare the university's students for careers in the field. Lindsey Sikorski, who previously served as director of community relations at Mansfield, has been named interim director of the institute.
County council to vote on gas impact fee
Michael P. Buffer
WILKES-BARRE - A vote to approve a natural gas impact fee is on tonight's agenda for Luzerne County Council.
At least four of the council's 11 members oppose the impact-fee ordinance, but Council Chairman Jim Bobeck said he expects the ordinance will pass with the six votes needed.
Peters Township joins opposition to state's shale regulations
Peters council members last night voted to join a growing consortium of municipalities and environmental groups that plan to appeal the state's new law governing Marcellus Shale gas regulations.
Law’s co-sponsor calls report by groups affiliated with Wilkes University “opinion.”
WILKES-BARRE – A recent report by two local institutes points out strengths and weaknesses in the state’s new regulations for the natural gas industry, but a co-sponsor of the legislation dismissed the report as “an opinion piece.”
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey visits Allentown to call for greater transparency on pipeline safety information
Lehigh Valley Live
Visiting the site of last year's massive gas explosion in Allentown, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., announced he was pushing for Pennsylvania to improve public transparency regarding pipeline safety information.
Inside The Shell Oil Cracker Plant Deal
PITTSBURGH— The stakes were high, so Pennsylvania like neighboring West Virginia and Ohio pulled out all stops to get it.
“The single largest industrial development in the state’s southwest in more than a generation,” Governor Tom Corbett said.
Beaver County Welcomes New Shell Oil Cracker Plant
BEAVER— People in Beaver County are welcoming plans for the Shell Oil refinery.
The Homestead Corporation, which currently operates a zinc plant on the site, planned to close it in 2013.
Keith Sevy, a business owner, says the news of the cracker plant is exciting.
Progressive PAC Targets Holden
Last week, PoliticsPA asked whether the Netroots, the national online progressive community, would take an interest in the PA-17 congressional race. Today, we have our answer.
A national progressive political action committee is targeting Rep. Tim Holden in a billboard campaign starting today in Lackawanna, Northampton and Schuylkill counties. The banners target Holden’s support for Marcellus shale drilling.
Court denies USFS was in contempt of its order
The Allegheny National Forest is not in contempt of a 2009 federal court ruling.
However, according to the judge, it is in the U.S. Forest Service's best interest not to stretch the limits of that ruling.