Wednesday, January 16, 2013

PA Marcellus News Digest 1/16/13

PA Marcellus News Digest
January 16, 2013


EPA Dirty Diesel Generator Rule prioritizes polluters over people
Sierra Club, PennFuture challenge EPA for giving diesel power a free pass
Jan 15
Washington, DC -- Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a set of regulations that create large loopholes for dirty diesel and gas electricity generators. The rule, called National Emissions Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Stationary Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE), allows diesel based electricity generators to expand their hours of operation without installing serious protections to clean up dangerous environmental toxins.


DePasquale Prepares To Audit PA’s Department of Environmental Protection
NPR State Impact
Scott Detrow
Jan 16

Money, politics and pollution in fracking country
Will Bunch
Jan 15
IT WAS JAN. 18, 2011 - just a day before Gov. Corbett took the oath of office - when, without warning, trucks started rolling one after another into a once-abandoned industrial site in the Susquehanna River town of Sunbury, Pa.

Climate activists try to get attention of government, citizens
Don Hopey
Jan 16
Extreme weather events linked to and exacerbated by climate change are affecting Pennsylvanians and all Americans in big and bad ways, according to two recently released reports.

Senate Committee Assignments Now Complete
PA Environment DIgest Daily
Jan 15
Senate Democrats formally appointed members to each standing committee rounding out committee assignments for the new session.

Barges of brine on Ohio River?
Plan for Pennsylvania ‘fracking’ waste on hold
Spencer Hunt
Jan 14
A Texas-based company’s plan to ship thousands of barrels of “fracking” waste into Ohio on river barges has been put on hold as federal officials investigate environmental questions.

Boom a bust for hospital
Jan 12
Natural gas extraction has been promoted by the state government and the industry as a big part of the answer to many of Pennsylvania's employment and general economic problems.

Anadarko donates $10,000 to new 911 center
Corporate donation total stands at $15,000
Jim Runkle
Jan 11
LOCK HAVEN - Anadarko Petroleum Corp. sweetened the pot Thursday by donating $10,000 to help create a new 911 emergency communications headquarters at the former Flemington Elementary School.

Center for Coalfield Justice hears coal and gas concerns
Rick Shrum
Jan 9
HICKORY – Health of community. Water quality. Truck traffic. Noise. Fracking. Industry responsibility.

Report: DEP didn’t report all wells under Act 13
Times Online
Rachel Morgan, Calkins Media
Jan 9
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection didn’t report all the state’s natural gas wells under Act 13, which could result in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars, a recent report says.

Man complains gas company did not repair fence
Times Online
Susy Kelly, Calkins Media
Jan 9
“Good fences make good neighbors,” wrote Robert Frost in his poem “The Mending Wall.”

The politics and business of unconventional energy
E&E NEws
Jan 16
(full text below)
The dump trucks rolled in on Jan. 18, 2011 -- unexpected and as yet unapproved by the state.

Inhabitants of tiny Sunbury, Pa., say they witnessed 27 trucks pass through a small residential street that day. They contained foul liquids and "smelled like a combination of diesel fuel and dirt," according to witness and resident Cora Campbell.

The trucks were hauling waste amassed by hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," in the nearby Marcellus Shale that sweeps through much of the eastern United States. Fracking involves shooting water, sand and chemicals down well bores at high pressure to access previously unattainable deposits of shale oil or natural gas. The process has drawn criticism for its negative environmental impacts.

The carriers ultimately unloaded at a once-abandoned industrial site near the Susquehanna River that had been transformed into a waste transfer station.

State regulators from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and local environmental activists pressured the owner of the site, logistics firm Moran Industries, to reveal what was happening and how it could move such quantities of fracking waste without environmental permits.

Later it was unveiled that the company could exploit a loophole opened by its subsidiary's contract with an interstate railroad, agreed on three months after the waste transfer station came online. The deal made Moran Industries exempt from Pennsylvania's permitting laws.

The scrutiny also revealed a string of connections between Moran Industries owner John Moran Jr. and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R). Moran had donated $100,000 to Corbett's gubernatorial campaign and gave $2,400 to Corbett for personal travel. He hosted the governor and his wife on a yacht off Rhode Island in 2011 on a trip that didn't come to light until last fall, after an amendment to an earlier Corbett ethics-disclosure form. The trips came at a time when the DEP had the power to make or break the new waste transfer facility that had opened so suddenly in Sunbury.

"The broader issue is that during the period when Moran was traveling with the governor, his company had much to gain from favorable interpretation from the DEP of this facility," said Mark Szybist, a Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based lawyer for the environmental group PennFuture who has closely followed the story.

Corbett and his aides have vigorously denied that Moran influenced his policies or actions. A DEP spokesman also denied any pressure from or contact with the governor's office about the Sunbury operations. The DEP finally approved of Moran Industries' acting without a permit on March 16 of last year -- about 14 months after the site began processing waste (Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 15). -- BS

No comments: