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.
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.
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
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.
Activity in Pennsylvania’s gas fields slowed in recent years amid low prices, but operators ramped up drilling in 2017, and they’re expecting to drill even more in the new year. The site of some of the state’s newest gas wells lies atop a Washington County hill in Frank Brownlee’s backyard. Brownlee, 68, lives a quarter-mile away and operates a trucking business next to his house. Read Full Story Here
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.
Pennsylvania regulators are slowly playing catch up when it comes to technology. After years of yearning for the latest digital tools, the state Department of Environmental Protection was recently able to send its oil and gas inspectors out into the field with iPads. The change has cut down the time and tedium of filing paper reports. Scott Perry, head of DEP’s Office of Oil and Gas Management, said inspectors are using a new app (created in conjunction with PennDOT) and said it has helped increase productivity — amounting to more than $500,000 annually, or about the cost of having six new inspectors. Read full story here.
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.
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.
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.