Wednesday, March 6, 2013

PA Marcellus News Digest 3/6/13

PA Marcellus News Digest
March 6, 2013


Pennsylvania Democrats file ethics complaint against Corbett
March 5
Today, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint against Gov. Tom Corbett. According to a report from the Philadelphia Daily News, Gov. Corbett received gifts from lobbyists and organizations that later benefited from his policies. The facts clearly warrant an investigation by the Ethics Commission into whether gifts Governor Corbett influenced his policy decisions.

John Hanger calls on Corbett to affirm Governor’s Code of Conduct
Must declare that accepting gifts is banned and pay back cost of gifts
March 5
Harrisburg – John Hanger today called on Governor Corbett to affirm that the Governor’s Code of Conduct is still in force. The Governor’s Code of Conduct bans public officials and employees in the executive branch of government from accepting gifts from people or businesses that do business with state government. He also said that Corbett should pay back the value of the gifts he has received from lobbyists and businessmen whose activities are regulated by the Commonwealth.

MSC Releases Educational Video on Methane, Groundwater Protection
March 4
Pittsburgh, Pa. – A new informational video – Methane: An Element of Nature – released today by the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) underscores the science and geology associated with methane migration, and more importantly, demonstrates the host of regulations and operational practices that natural gas producers take to address this issue.


Former Western PA Congressman Takes Job With Firm Promoting Gas Industry
NPR State Impact
Marie Cusick
March 1

Foxes watch the hen house
Pocono Record
March 1
Even ardent supporters of Pennsylvania's natural gas drilling industry should be troubled by revelations in a new report from the Public Accountability Initiative.

EPA reviews issues on Highland 'injection well'
Saint Marys Daily Press
Ted Lutz
Feb 28

Geisinger Health receives grant for gas drilling research
Penn State Collegian
Anna Lombardo
March 1
The local research branch of Geisinger Health is partnering with two other health companies to study the effects of fracking, as part of a $1 million grant that was awarded to Geisinger Health last week by the Degenstein Foundation, said Stephen Sellers, administrative director of the Marcellus Shale research project.

Gas company asks for preliminary pipeline plan review
Daily Local
Sara Mosqueda-Fernandez
March 1
Columbia Gas Transmission is asking to begin a pre-filing review for its proposed pipeline expansion project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Beaver Falls water authority never notified of illegal dumping
Times Online
Rachel Morgan
March 1
BEAVER FALLS -- When officials failed to immediately inform the public of the illegal dumping of thousands of gallons of fracking wastewater in Youngstown, Ohio, last month, they also failed to do something else -- notify those downstream.

Rival to Corbett: Pay gift money back
Will Bunch
Mach 6
That was the demand on Gov. Corbett on Tuesday from a would-be Democratic rival in the 2014 election - in response to the Daily News' front-page report that the governor and his wife took in more than $11,000 in gifts in 2010 and 2011 from lobbyists and execs with state-regulated businesses.

Former Pa. regulator, seeking governor's office, looks to balance gas regs
E&E News
Ellen M. Gilmer
Energy Wire
March 1
(full text below)
Former Pennsylvania regulator John Hanger offered a sneak peek yesterday into what would change for Marcellus Shale drillers if he were elected governor of the state.

Speaking at a symposium at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, the Democrat said he had a "recipe" for successful natural gas development and regulation -- including some already-implemented rules and a few environmental issues to be addressed.

Hanger was chief of the state's Department of Environmental Protection under former Gov. Ed Rendell (D) during the start of the shale drilling boom. He is known for an enthusiastic but watchful approach to shale, coupled with heavy support of renewable energy development. He announced late last year that he would challenge Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in the 2014 election (EnergyWire, Nov. 28, 2012).

"There is no perfect energy choice," he said while presenting slides at the symposium. "All of these energy choices have strengths and weaknesses, and that's a reality that sometimes is not honestly faced by all kinds of different folks in the conversation."

Hanger said ongoing natural gas development was crucial for decreasing reliance on foreign oil and for cutting electric bills. But he added that the industry must be strongly regulated, acknowledging "some folks might want to challenge just about every word on this slide."

Without going into specifics, Hanger outlined issues that he said needed to be addressed by the industry and regulators: air emissions from the production process, gas migration, methane leakage, and seismicity associated with drilling and wastewater disposal.

Industry representatives have maintained that the drilling process is adequately regulated and that it is in operators' own interest to limit gas migration and leakage.

Hanger also said Pennsylvania needed to address spills and accidents -- but he added that he didn't expect the rate ever to go to zero.

"I'm sometimes asked, 'Is it safe?' Part of my response is, 'Well, what do you mean by safe?'" he said. "If you mean by safe, zero chance of a spill or an accident, nothing in energy meets that standard."

But he said the rate of accidents could be cut with an improved safety culture and regulatory oversight.

No comments: