Recent News on Natural Gas Drilling
A list of news articles and editorials on the issue of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale and protecting New York’s water supply.
Featured News Source on Gas Drilling
GAS DRILLING’S ENVIRONMENTAL THREAT
ProPublica, an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest, offers ongoing and extensive reporting on the threat of natural gas drilling to the environment.
Recent News on Gas Drilling (week of December 6, 2013)
RIVERKEEPER BACKS STATE SEN. TERRY GIPSON’S BILL TO BAN FRACKING FLUID ON ROADS IN NEW YORK STATE
Officials with the environmental group Riverkeeper say the state Department of Environmental Conservation has approved the use of fracking waste fluid as a deicing agent on highways in 13 western New York municipalities and want state lawmakers to stop the practice. The group issued a report this week on the use of the fluids from low-volume hydraulic fracturing natural gas wells, and lauded legislation proposed by state Sen. Terry Gipson, D-Rhinebeck, to prohibit its use on roads statewide. Riverkeeper says the state has approved the use of fracking waste fluids for deicing, dust control and road stabilization, even though studies have not been conducted to determine whether there are harmful impacts.“ Is the regulatory agency that is giving out these approvals looking at what the potential problems are, either before or after they give out these approvals?” Riverkeeper attorney Kate Hudson asked. “So far we haven’t been able to determine that is happening, which is consistent with DEC being as understaffed and under-resourced as it is.”
SUIT MAY FORCE CUOMO TO ADDRESS FRACKING
Gov. Cuomo may soon be forced to make a fracking decision. A little-known bankrupt energy company plans to sue the governor and his Department of Environmental Protection if the state doesn’t shortly reveal when it will conclude its long-overdue review of the fracking process, according to a letter sent to Albany leaders on Monday. Lawyers for Norse Energy Corp., which went bankrupt waiting for state leaders to make up their minds on whether to green-light fracking, are demanding DEP Commissioner Joseph Martens respond “within two weeks” and tell them when the environmental review will be complete — or they will take the matter to the courts, according to the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Post. The DEP put out a draft impact statement more than four years ago, in September 2009. Norse has applied for 27 fracking permits.Pro-fracking advocates believe Cuomo has delayed making a decision to avoid alienating environmentalists and drillers.
IN LETTER, NORSE TRUSTEES MAKE FINAL SGEIS DEMAND
Trustees for Norse Energy are making a last-ditch effort to force state environmental officials to declare a final end to the hydorfracking review process or be sued in state court.Norse Energy announced in October it was filing for bankruptcy and shuttering its U.S. operations.Late last month, trustees for the company announced through a court filing they were preparing to sue Gov. Andrew Cuomo, along with his top health and environmental commissioners, in order to release the supplemental generic environmental impact statement, a document known as the SGEIS, detailing the risks of high-volume hydrofracking.
GAS DRILLERS SHOULD MINIMIZE IMPACT ON NATURE, POLL SAYS
Results of a poll by The Nature Conservancy in the six-state Marcellus Shale gas region of the Appalachians indicate strong support for better regional planning to minimize impacts on forest and water resources, as well as tougher environmental safeguards.The poll, scheduled for release at noon today, also shows that a majority of those polled -- 54 percent -- say conservation of natural habitats and water resources should be a higher priority than shale gas development, even if that would produce higher energy costs. Forty-two percent of those polled say creation of new natural gas industry jobs should be a higher priority.
IN FRACKING, SAND IS THE NEW GOLD;ENERGY BOOM FUELS DEMAND FOR KEY INGREDIENT USED IN DRILLING WELLS; 100 SAND MINES IN WISCONSIN
The race to drill for oil in the U.S. is creating another boom—in sand, a key ingredient in fracking. Energy companies are expected to use 56.3 billion pounds of sand this year, blasting it down oil and natural gas wells to help crack rocks and allow fuel to flow out. Sand use has increased 25% since 2011, according to the consulting firm PacWest, which expects a further 20% rise over the next two years.In Wisconsin, the source of white sand perfectly suited for hydraulic fracturing, state officials now estimate more than 100 sand mines, loading, and processing facilities have received permits, up from just five sand mines and five processing plants operating in 2010.
PATTISON SAND SCRUTINIZED FOR SAFETY;AS FRACKING FUELS A BOOM,COMPANY DRAWS CONCERN FROM REGULATORS
As companies flock to the booming business of mining sand for fracking, regulators are growing increasingly concerned about worker safety. A company called Pattison Sand Co. has received more scrutiny than most.For two decades, the Pattison family used a cavern in a bluff on the Mississippi River here to store corn, fertilizer and old tires. Then oil-field services companies came looking for sand to pour down oil and gas wells to help flush out fossil fuels.
AMERICA’S GREENEST ENERGY SOURCE
Fracking outgreens ‘green’ energy: That was my chief observation when I returned to Anadarko Petroleum’s Landon Pad A, a natural-gas site in Lycoming County, Pa. October’s quietude was totally unlike the cyclone of equipment, personnel, and activity that dominated this spot last June, when Anadarko and the American Petroleum Institute hosted journalists and policy analysts here.Back then, engineers used a pressurized blend of 90 percent water, 9.5 percent sand, and 0.5 percent chemicals to shake subterranean shale deposits and awaken natural gas that has slumbered since the dinosaurs died. This hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” occurs some 6,000 feet underground. This is 5,000 feet beneath the water table — deep enough to bury three Empire State Buildings.
DEC RECEIVES COMMENTS OPPOSING RULES;OPPONENTS OF PROPOSED GUIDELINES CITE 2 BROAD CATEGORIES OF CONCERNS
Activists on Wednesday delivered what they said were 50,000 comments to the state Department of Environmental Conservation opposing the agency's proposed draft regulations for liquefied natural gas facilities.They sent an accompanying letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo that argues the regulations "are arbitrary and capricious, and must be withdrawn."The attacks on the regulations fell into two overlapping categories. One set insists that the DEC's rules lack specific language on required setbacks and other elements, are broad enough to possibly allow for the creation of massive LNG storage facilities instead of the truck fueling stations that the DEC is anticipating, and were produced based on a report from a research firm with a vested interest in seeing LNG distribution move forward.The second category of complaints emerges from the link between the development of an LNG infrastructure and the controversial natural gas drilling process known as hydrofracking, which would be the source of much of the product that would move through such fueling stations — whether or not New York state allows fracking within its borders.