Efficiencies, Pipelines Help Propel PA Gas Production In 2018

Natural gas production in Pennsylvania is expected to reach a new high by year’s end: 6 trillion cubic feet. Drillers extracted 13 percent more gas in the first three quarters of 2018 than during the same period the previous year, according to a recent report from the state’s Independent Fiscal Office.

PA Study: Pipeline Blast Could Be Devastating, But Risk Is Low

A worst-case explosion of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in PA’s Delaware County would kill anyone within about a mile of the rupture, a new report says, but it concludes the chances of someone dying from a pipeline incident are less than that of dying in a car crash or from falling down stairs.

As Nuclear Power Loses Ground To Natural Gas, Environmentalists Are Torn

STATE IMPACT PENNSYLVANIA – The natural gas boom was supposed to help the electric sector lower its carbon footprint by replacing old, carbon dioxide-spewing coal plants with newer, lower-emitting natural gas plants. And to a degree, that’s happened. As coal plants have retired, carbon emissions from the power sector have decreased.

In Pennsylvania, Unions Throw Political Weight Behind Natural Gas

STATE IMPACT PENNSYLVANIA – On a recent afternoon, Ken Broadbent walked the aisles of his union’s “weld shop.” Behind orange plastic curtains that shield the eye-searing brightness of their torches, a few dozen apprentices practiced welding pipes together. Each will end up with about 700 hours of training.

Poll: Most PA Voters Say Climate Change Causing Problems Now

STATE IMPACT PENNSYLVANIA – A majority of Pennsylvania voters agree with the scientific consensus that climate change is causing problems right now, and more than two-thirds say the state should be doing more to address it, according to a Franklin & Marshall College/StateImpact Pennsylvania poll released Thursday.

Environmental Group: Methane Pollution Higher Than PA Thinks

An environmental group says that Pennsylvania’s gas drilling industry is releasing much more methane into the atmosphere than the state is reporting. Scientists at the Environmental Defense Fund calculated Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale industry is emitting twice as much methane as companies are reporting to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. The analysis, posted to the group’s website, is based on 16 peer-reviewed studies funded in part by EDF, including some involving oil and gas companies. Read full story here.

What Will Sunoco’s $12.6 Million Mariner East 2 Penalty Be Spent On?

The $12.6 million penalty being paid by Sunoco for multiple violations during construction of the Mariner East 2 pipelines will be used to improve water quality and the safety of dams across Pennsylvania, and will be in addition to the company’s work to correct environmental damage caused during the project, current and former state officials said.

Hearings On Proposed Fracking Ban In Delaware Basin Start This Week

When the Delaware River Basin Commission proposed a ban on high-volume fracking for natural gas in the basin, arguing it “poses significant, immediate and long-term risks” to the watershed, one environmentalist called it “a huge and groundbreaking protection.”

PA Fines Natural Gas Company $1.7M For Drilling Violations

State environmental officials have fined a natural gas company $1.7 million for problems at well sites in Greene and Clearfield counties. Energy Corporation of America was cited for, among other things, operating storage pits without proper permits and for pits that leaked. The violations took place at 17 well sites, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The wells were recently acquired by Greylock Energy. Read full story here.

After New Setback, Constitution Pipeline Says It Will Fight FERC Order

The builder of the proposed Constitution Pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York said it will ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to take another look at its recent ruling that upholds New York State’s denial of a water-quality permit for the troubled project. Constitution Pipeline said it will seek a rehearing or appeal FERC’s decision on Jan. 11, in which the commission declined to overturn the permit decision by New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). That decision has stopped the company from beginning to build the 124-mile natural gas line. Read full story here. 

Federal Repeal Of Fracking Regulations Affects Relatively Small Portion Of PA Land

You might have seen a headline last week about President Trump repealing fracking regulations. Anything fracking-related is likely to turn heads in Pennsylvania. But the regulations in question had to do with fracking on federally owned land. Because of that, Trump’s action isn’t expected to significantly affect Pennsylvania, which had fewer than 10,000 acres of federal land with oil and gas leases as of fiscal year 2016, according to the Bureau of Land Management

Read full story here. 

PA Suspends All Construction On Mariner East 2 Pipeline

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection on Wednesday suspended all construction on Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipeline, saying it has violated the conditions of two kinds of permits. “Sunoco must cease all construction activity on the pipeline project, except for maintenance of erosion controls and limited maintenance of horizontal directional drilling equipment,” the DEP said in a statement. Read full story here. 

Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Lawsuit Over Royalty Payments Advances

A lawsuit is moving forward by the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office alleging natural gas companies didn’t pay royalties to landowners as they’d promised. Bradford County Common Pleas Court Judge Kenneth Brown denied the preliminary objections raised by the defendants, Chesapeake Energy and Anadarko Petroleum. The lawsuit, filed in 2015, accuses the companies of violating the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, by promising landowners royalty money they never paid. You can read the full story here.

Federal Regulators Won’t Reconsider Approval Of Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline

Federal regulators won’t revisit their decision to approve a major natural gas transmission pipeline through Pennsylvania. In a December 6 order, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied a rehearing request by landowners, anti-pipeline activists, environmental groups, Native American tribes and the public service commissions of North Carolina and New York. They were challenging FERC’s approval of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. Read full story here. 

Study: Low Birth Weights Linked To Fracking Sites

Infants born to mothers who live very close to natural gas fracking sites have a higher risk of low birth weight, according to a new peer-reviewed study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. 

The study is the largest of its kind, and was conducted by researchers from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago and Princeton University. It builds on previous research that also found health impacts to infants born near gas wells in Pennsylvania. Read full story here. 

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Former Environmental Secretaries Criticize Bill Changing DEP Permitting

Former Pennsylvania environmental secretaries say changes aimed at streamlining the Department of Environmental Protection’s permitting process would likely have the opposite effect and lead to lawsuits. The tax code bill pending consideration by the House after squeaking through the Senate has a severance tax on natural gas production. It also has a number of environmental provisions that would alter the way DEP functions. Read full story here.

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Proposed Natural Gas Transfer Station In Fenton Heads To Court

Maureen Singer is not happy about a proposed natural gas transfer station in the Town of Fenton. “It’s tough to digest how a responsible governing body approved that,” she said.   A natural gas transfer station taps into an existing pipeline, puts the gas on trucks, and ships it to places where relatively inexpensive fuel might be hard to get. The town approved the project earlier this year.  Singer is part of a group of residents that filed a lawsuit against Fenton and the company building the transfer station, NG Advantage. A hearing on the case is scheduled for Wednesday.  A church and the Chenango Valley School District have filed separate lawsuits.  Concern Over Process  Next to the proposed site, there are baseball fields, a playground, and a basketball court.

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Oneonta Residents Split On NED Pipeline Proposal

Federal regulators held a public hearing last night on a proposed natural gas pipeline that would run through several upstate New York counties. Energy company Kinder Morgan wants to build the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline to funnel gas from Pennsylvania to the East Coast. There are four compressor stations proposed for New York State along the pipeline route. Over a hundred people attended the hearing in Oneonta and several gave passionate statements. “It’s unconscionable that we have to beg not to have our air poisoned or our water contaminated or our forests destroyed,” said Lottie Marsh, attendee.