Tuesday, February 26, 2013

PA Marcellus News Digest 2/26/13

 PA Marcellus News Digest
February 26, 2013


Tom Ridge: 'Climate change is a national security threat'
Robert J. Vickers
Feb 25
Former Gov. Tom Ridge joined 37 prominent political figures at that U.S. Capitol Monday calling for policymakers to figure climate change into national security strategy and budget considerations.

State officials to tap state forest drilling royalties for revenue
Citizens Voice
Robert Swift
Feb 26
HARRISBURG - State conservation officials plan to tap more revenue from oil and gas drilling royalties and timber sales to start to tackle a backlog of $1 billion in infrastructure repairs in the state-owned parks and forests.

State impact fees being allocated -- but is there enough to go around?
Times Online
Rachel Morgan
Feb 25
While the Corbett administration is allocating more than $14 million in impact fees for environmental protection and conservation measures, some say Pennsylvania didn’t collect nearly as much as it should have.

PA DEP's Krancer: Climate change is real
Sandy Bauers
Feb 25
Yes, Pennsylvania legislators, Michael Krancer, secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, does think that climate change is real.

DCNR Chief Expects $60 Million in Gas Royalties from State Lands This Year
NPR State Impact
Marie Cusick
Feb 25

Ohio disposal wells filled with more Pa. drilling waste
E&E News
Ellen M. Gilmer
Feb 26
(full text below)
The amount of drilling wastewater blasted underground in Ohio continued to tick up last year.

Ohio disposal wells received at least 8 million barrels of wastewater from other states in 2012, a number that is expected to rise as fourth-quarter reporting continues to roll in. That's higher than the year before, which saw about 6 million barrels of out-of-state waste sent to the Buckeye State.

Most of that waste comes from neighboring Pennsylvania. According to data released earlier this month, Pennsylvania natural gas operations sent more waste to Ohio during the last half of 2012 than any previous six-month period (EnergyWire, Feb. 22).

Disposal wells, which are injected with drilling wastewater for permanent storage, have attracted scrutiny over the past year -- especially in Ohio. A year ago, wastewater injection was linked to earthquakes around Youngstown, setting off calls for extensive study of how wastewater can lubricate cracks in the earth (Greenwire, March 9, 2012).

Environmentalists have expressed separate concern about whether the wells are sturdy enough to keep the waste from contaminating groundwater. Waste from drilling and hydraulic fracturing is stored in "Class II" injection wells, which are subject to looser standards than "Class I" wells used for other industrial waste. Industry insists that the process is being done safely, and Ohio regulators have called it the "safest, most environmentally friendly" method of disposal.

But with a heavier current of waste heading from Pennsylvania to Ohio, some are raising questions about whether Ohio's infrastructure can handle it. A recent study from professors at Kent State and Duke universities warns that the state's capacity could be overwhelmed (EnergyWire, Jan. 24).

Pennsylvania has only a few of its own injection wells and leaves regulation of those to the federal government, unlike Ohio, which has primacy over its numerous wells. Lying just across the border from Pennsylvania's productive western section of the Marcellus Shale, Ohio makes a convenient destination for drilling waste.

Pennsylvania sent 2.5 million barrels of waste from unconventional wells between July and December last year, plus half-million barrels from conventional wells throughout the whole year. That's around 70 percent of Ohio's total out-of-state waste, with the rest coming from conventional and unconventional wells in West Virginia, New York and Kentucky.

But plenty of wastewater injected in Ohio is from local wells, too. The new data, provided by the state Department of Natural Resources, shows that the state injected around 3 million barrels of in-state wastewater during the last half of 2012, according to the not-yet-finalized records. That's compared with 4.3 million barrels of out-of-state waste.

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