Judge Approves Settlement in Marcellus Shale Class-Action Lawsuit

On Tuesday, March 22, 2011 0 comments

According to an article in the Pittsburgh-Tribune, "An Erie federal judge has approved a class-action settlement between a Texas-based gas firm drilling in the Marcellus shale and about 25,000 Pennsylvania landowners.
U.S. District Judge Sean McLaughlin approved a settlement -- which was agreed upon last year -- that gives the landowners about $1.3 million initially and increases their royalties by an estimated $16.6 million over the next five years. The attorneys for the landowners would receive $437,500 initially and $4.2 million over the next five years.

The landowners claimed in the 2008 lawsuit that Range Resources was improperly calculating royalty payments. The company denies it was wrong in the settlement, but agreed to change its methodology."

Bill Pushes for Chemical Discloure of Hydraulic Fracturing Process

On Tuesday, March 15, 2011 0 comments

A proposed bill would strengthen the safety practices surrounding the hydraulic fracturing process and also help to educate Pennsylvania landowners before they agree to allow drilling of marcellus shale on their land.

According to a March 15th article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette,
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., has resumed his legislative effort to force
drilling companies to disclose all chemicals used during hydraulic
fracturing -- the fundamental procedure used to harvest natural gas from
Marcellus Shale -- and bring the process under federal regulation.

Fracking is the process by which drilling companies inject a mixture of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into a well to crack the shale and help the gas flow.
Landowners and environmentalists fear that the chemicals could have a long term negative impact on the land, water supply and even animals.
Industry officials on the other hand say the chemicals are safe, however, some companies have been unwilling to release the proprietary fracking formulas they use. One company, Range Resources voluntarily discloses the additives.

Casey's proposed legislation would restore the agency's oversight and require ALL companies to disclose chemical additives used during fracking to state agencies. In turn, those agencies would make the information public online. Oil and gas companies would also have to reveal proprietary
information about any additives to medical professionals if the
information is necessary for treatment.

According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette,

"Jan Jarrett, president and chief executive officer of Citizens for
Pennsylvania's Future, applauded Mr. Casey's latest attempt and agrees
with the senator that voluntary compliance is not a good idea."
"The public wants to know this. It's something that people have been
very clear about," Ms. Jarrett said. "Their suspicions are heightened
when they feel like the industry is keeping secrets."
The EPA is currently working on a study of the fracking process, to update a 2004 report which concluded that the process posed a "minimal" threat to the drinking water supply.

More information regarding their study and this proposed legislation is expected to be released later this month.

What is Utica Shale ?

On Wednesday, March 2, 2011 0 comments

Utica Shale keeps appearing in local headlines, but what is it ?

Here is the definition of "Utica Shale" from Wilkipedia,

"The Utica Shale is a stratigraphical unit of Middle Ordovician age in the Appalachian Basin.
It takes the name from the city of Utica, New York, and was first described in outcrop along the Starch Factory Creek east of the city by Ebenezer Emmons in 1842."

Utica Shale is located a few thousand feet BELOW Marcellus Shale and has the potential to become an enormous natural gas resource. Some experts believe Utica Shale has even greater potential then Marcellus Shale, and this has portions of Ohio and Canada excited as Utica Shale exists in those areas, but Marcellus Shale is not present.

According to Geology.com,

"In early 2011, most of  the mineral rights leasing and drilling activity tied directly to the  Utica Shale was in eastern Ohio and Ontario, Canada. In these areas the Utica Shale is  less than 4000 feet below the  surface and the  Marcellus Shale is not present. (If the Marcellus is present it becomes the target because it is shallower, less expensive to drill and has a proven potential.)  

The productive portion of the Marcellus Shale does not extend into central Ohio - but the Utica Shale does.  In those areas the Utica Shale is less than one mile below the surface and a few companies are leasing and drilling the Utica Shale for natural gas.

As Utica Shale Drilling and Utica Shale Gas Leases continue to develop, we will continue to keep you informed. Visit our website www.safeshalelease.com for the latest Shale Drilling News.

Caseys Wants Water Tested for Contamination from Marcellus Shale Drilling

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Casey Wants Water Tested for Radioactive Contamination Due to Marcellus Shale Drilling

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has called on state and federal environmental regulators to increase testing of public drinking water supplies for radioactive contamination connected with the burgeoning Marcellus Shale gas well drilling industry in Pennsylvania.

The senator's request that the state Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency step up sporadic radiation testing follows a New York Times report that hydraulic fracturing wastewater at 116 of 179 deep gas wells in the state had been found to contain high levels of radiation.

"No threat to Pennsylvania drinking water should be taken lightly, especially one involving radioactive material," Mr. Casey, D-Pa., said Tuesday. "Alarming information has been raised that must be fully investigated."

Mr. Casey questioned why the DEP and EPA haven't required water treatment facilities to conduct radiation tests for six years or more despite growing public concern about the disposal of wastewater from wells tapping the Marcellus Shale formation. Studies show the shale contains elevated levels of naturally occurring radioactive materials.

The EPA released a statement Tuesday saying agency scientists are undertaking a study of the fracturing practice "to better understand any potential impacts it may have on drinking water resources."

"While we conduct this study, we will not hesitate to take any steps under the law to protect Americans whose health may be at risk and we remain committed to working with States, who are on the front lines of permitting and regulating natural gas production activities."

Katy Gresh, a DEP spokeswoman, said the agency hasn't decided whether more testing is needed.
Pennsylvania American Water, which draws from the Monongahela River at three treatment facilities to provide water for about 209,000 customers in Allegheny, Washington and Fayette counties, said it will conduct radiological tests at its intakes along the Monongahela, Clarion and Allegheny rivers in the next few weeks and the results reported to the DEP and EPA for analysis.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority said it will schedule tests for radiation this year because of the concerns over Marcellus Shale wastewater.

Read Original Article written by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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