Sportsmen Monitor Marcellus Shale Drilling

On Monday, June 27, 2011 0 comments

ASSOCIATED PRESS -WHITELEY, Pa. — Fishermen are gearing up and hunters are taking aim — for Marcellus Shale gas drilling.
A new coalition of outdoors groups is emerging as a potent force in the debate over natural gas drilling. The Sportsmen Alliance for Marcellus Conservation isn't against the process of fracking for gas, but its members want to make sure the rush to cash in on the valuable resource doesn't damage streams, forests, and the various creatures that call those places home.

The movement grew out of grass-roots anger as passionate outdoorsmen found their questions about drilling and wildlife brought few answers from local or state officials.

"Either we didn't get a response or the answer we got didn't seem feasible or acceptable. It didn't seem like the people who were in charge had their pulse on what was actually happening," said Ken Dufalla of Clarksville, Pa.

Energy companies have identified major reserves of natural gas throughout the Marcellus Shale, which underlies much of New York and Pennsylvania, and parts of Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia.
More than 3,300 wells have been drilled across Pennsylvania in just the last few years. The boom has raised concerns about the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a drilling technique in which water, sand and a small amount of chemicals are used to open gas-bearing shale formations deep underground.

Already, preliminary water testing by sportsmen is showing consistently high levels of bromides and total dissolved solids in some streams near fracking operations, Dufalla said. Bromide is a salt that reacts with the chlorine disinfectants used by drinking water systems and creates trihalomethanes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says trihalomethanes can be harmful to people who drink water with elevated levels for many years.

Dufalla stands alongside Whiteley Creek, a little mountain stream in Greene County. But something is wrong. The grass is lush and the woods are green, but the water is cloudy and dead-looking.

"It used to be a nice stream," teeming with minnows, crawfish and other aquatic life, he told The Associated Press. No more, said Dufalla, a former deputy game and fish warden for Pennsylvania.

He's worried that nearby gas drilling has damaged the creek, either from improper discharges of waters used in fracking, or from extensive withdrawals of water. The drilling industry says numerous studies have shown fracking is environmentally safe, but Dufalla and other sportsmen want to be sure.

The goal is to build a water quality database that identifies problem areas and makes that information available to the public. Currently, there's little scientific information about whether or how much fracking water impacts wildlife.

Numbers suggest that many people share Dufalla's concerns, in Pennsylvania and throughout the region. Two years ago his local chapter of the Izaak Walton League (a fishing group) had 19 members. Today there are 111.

More than half a dozen existing outdoors groups are part of the Sportsmen Alliance, and collectively they have more than 60,000 members in the states that overlay the Marcellus. Numbers like that mean there's an established grapevine to reach sportsmen and women, and the ties to national groups bring access to experts and funding.

Members of the Sportsmen Alliance are scheduled to meet in July with Michael Krancer, the new secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, said Katy Dunlap, a spokeswoman for Trout Unlimited, a national fishing group based in Arlington, Va.

"We are making specific requests with regards to Wilderness trout waters in Pennsylvania," Dunlap said, such as additional review of proposed wells near such waters.

Some areas may be too environmentally sensitive for drilling, and the Sportsmen Alliance is building a list of places that need special protection, Dunlap said. "Places that once you destroy, you can't take back," she said.

Whether the drilling industry would accept additional limits in some areas remains to be seen.
So many wildlife lovers have expressed concern over drilling that the Sportsmen Alliance has moved beyond relying on volunteers.

Earlier this year Dave Sewak began working full-time across Pennsylvania, giving educational talks and training a network of volunteer water testers. "We support the energy development; we just want to see it done right the first time. I think hunters and fishermen are the original environmentalists," said Sewak, a Windber, Pa. resident. He's paid by Trout Unlimited.

There has been considerable public debate over how and if fracking impacts drinking water supplies, but Dufalla and other sportsmen are worried that even low concentrations of fracking chemicals may affect aquatic invertebrates — the tiny water bugs that grow into mayflies and stoneflies, which are in turn eaten by fish and birds.

The sportsmen worry that a stream without bugs could quickly become a stream without fish, and then a valley with fewer birds, and so on up the food chain.

There are signs that both the drilling industry and sportsmen are trying to find common ground. Patrick Creighton, a spokesman for the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a drilling industry business group, told the AP his group has already met with numerous outdoors groups.

"It's a relationship that we're building," he said. They're also working with local groups on a set of "best management practices."

Some pro-drilling outdoorsmen said that's exactly the area that needs work.
Ed Gaw leased drilling rights to a five-acre tract of his 140-acre farm in Evans City, Pa., to the T.W. Phillips Co. and fracking began in the spring of 2009. The next year the drillers did what they considered to be a basic restoration.

"Their idea of reclaiming a site and mine were kind of night and day," said Gaw, who knew when he signed the lease that the landscape would never look as it had before.

But Gaw didn't just complain. He got to work, investing about $20,000 in a restoration that included planting hundreds of spruce and fruit trees. Now there are more deer on the property than before drilling began, he said.

But no one wanted to talk about restoration in the beginning. Gaw remembers telling the drilling company that a beautiful restoration would be in their long-term interest too, but they didn't see the point. "I'm going take you guys kicking and screaming into this model recovery," he recalls saying.
He was right.

Last year, the Pennsylvania Game Commission sponsored a field day on the issue of reclamation at the Gaw Farm, which is about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. At the time state officials echoed some of Gaw's concerns.
"Landowners have received a wealth of information across the state on leasing, but little attention has been paid to reclamation and habitat recovery," said Tim Hoppe, Northwest Region Wildlife Diversity Biologist for the Game Commission.

Part of the challenge for outdoorsmen and industry is that there isn't much scientific information on how or if fracking impacts wildlife in the Marcellus Shale region.

University of Pennsylvania biologist Margaret Brittingham is just starting such a project, with support from the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The study will look at how drilling changes the forest habitat, and how it could impact wildlife. But it will be a few years before results are in, and that's just one study.
In the meantime, the sportsmen know the value of keeping their hooks sharp and their powder dry, so to speak.

Trout Unlimited and some of the other sportsmen groups have staff attorneys and a history of organizing and funding successful water quality lawsuits.

Dufalla hopes the volunteer water testing database becomes a tool for negotiating with state officials and the drilling industry.

If the testing shows an ongoing pattern of water quality problems near drilling operations the sportsmen may file lawsuits, he said.

"It's the last thing you want to do," Dufalla said.

But some people in rural communities are past accepting assurances by the industry that fracking doesn't cause environmental problems. Some who don't even hunt or fish have joined the effort to patrol waterways.
Waynesburg resident Chuck Hunnell, 68, said a recent public meeting on drilling was the most radical one he's ever been to. But what he sees in the community he grew up in has turned him into an activist monitoring the drilling industry.

"And now until I breathe my last breath, I'm going to be checking on these people," Hunnell said.
—Copyright 2011 Associated Press

Marcellus Shale Creates Opportunities for Western PA Banks to Cash In

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Marcellus Shale Creates Opportunities for Western Pennsylvania Banks according to an article in the International Business Times, BR Capital Markets remains positive on the Marcellus Shale as a catalyst for banks in Western Pennsylvania, following a recent investor field trip.

"We recently visited with management teams at First Commonwealth Financial Corp. (FCF), FNB Corp. (FNB), Northwest Savings (NWBI), and S&T Bancorp (STBA), as well as a commercial real estate professional from CB Richard Ellis and a project director from the Marcellus Shale Coalition to learn more about the impact and opportunities created by the Marcellus Shale, the second-largest natural gas formation in the world," said Bob Ramsey, an analyst at FBR Capital.

Ramsey said all four banks were excited about the economic benefits and growth opportunities from the shale. Given that banks are highly leveraged to their local economies, the shale creates a favorable secular tailwind for these institutions, particularly at a time when the industry as a whole seems unable to grow.
Still, this is a long-term catalyst, and many bank customers are using new-found wealth or profitability to de-leverage, limiting loan growth despite economic growth, Ramsey said.
Ramsey said wealth management seems to be one of the greatest opportunities for these banks, given the significant, long-tailed annuity stream of payments that landowners receive. Outperform-rated FNB is his favorite shale-related name, and he also upgraded First Commonwealth to "outperform" from "market perform" following a recent meeting with management and recent weakness.

"Our upgrade reflects: shares trade at 1.0 times of tangible book, which we consider inexpensive given the company is profitable, building book, and should generate an 8 percent return on total capital employed (ROTCE) in 2012; the company's exposure to the Marcellus Shale should benefit both its growth prospects and credit quality; and recent M&A activity in Pennsylvania, all substantially above tangible book and at sizable premiums to the market, highlights the value of FCF's franchise," said Ramsey.

If FCF is unable to generate sufficient shareholder returns, Ramsey believes it could sell above the current price. While there could still be some volatility in the company's provision expense, trading at 1.0 times of tangible book, he believes that this risk is more than reflected in current valuation.

Ramsey reiterated his $7 price target, equal to 1.2 times of 2011 first quarter tangible book value. He has adjusted 2011 operating EPS estimate to $0.33 to reflect the company's revision of 2011 first quarter provision expense. His 2012 estimate of $0.45 is unchanged.

Ramsey said drilling in Marcellus was insignificant before 2008. From 2008 through 2010, nearly 2,400 wells were drilled. In 2011, it is estimated that 2,200 wells will be drilled, a 58 percent increase from the number drilled in 2010, and the number of new wells drilled is expected to grow annually for at least the next 10 years.
While a significant amount of mineral rights leases may have already been signed, the drilling process is in the early stages and drives employment and economic activity (everything from manufacturing pipe and building roads, to wastewater removal and treatment), and landowners earn royalties for decades over the life of the extraction process.

Ramsey said early exploration of the Utica shale, located deeper below the Marcellus shale, suggests that it could be even more prolific than Marcellus, although technological advances are still needed to make extraction economically viable.

Ramsey said a well site employs 30 to 60 people at any given time, and including site prep, drilling, pipe manufacturing, waste water treatment, etc., it is estimated that every well requires 30 to 59 contractors and 240 to 450 workers over a six-month period. Since fourth quarter of 2009, Marcellus has added 48,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, with an average annual salary of $70,000 to $75,000.

To read the entire article in the International Business Times, click here.

Jobs Created as a Result of Marcellus Shale Boom in Dispute

On Wednesday, June 22, 2011 0 comments

HARRISBURG - The Keystone Research Center in a policy brief Tuesday asserts that the number of jobs created in Pennsylvania by the Marcellus Shale boom has been much less than cited in recent news reports.

The brief claims that figures of approximately 48,000 new jobs created between late 2007 and 2010 are “exaggerated claims” that rely on data about “new hires,” which are not the same as new jobs.

“New hires” track additions to employment but not separations due to resignations, firings or replacements.

Between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2011, Marcellus industries added 48,000 “new hires,” while all Pennsylvania industries added 2.8 million “new hires.”

But “as Pennsylvanians well know, the commonwealth has added nothing like 2.8 million jobs to the economy since 2009” and, in fact, only 85,400 new jobs were created, according to a research center press release.

“The number of new hires by itself tells half the story and is not a meaningful indicator of job creation,” said Stephen Herzenberg, executive director of the Keystone Research Center. “You have to also look at the number of people who leave jobs.”

Between the fourth quarter of 2007 and the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the latest report from the state Department of Labor and Industry’s Center for Workforce Information and Analysis, all Marcellus Shale-related industries added 5,669 jobs. Six industries in what CWIA defines as the “Marcellus Core” industries added 9,288 jobs during this period. During the same three years, 30 industries in a group CWIA calls “Marcellus Ancillary” actually lost 3,619 jobs, according to the brief.

Overall, Marcellus job growth is small, accounting for less than one in 10 of the 111,400 new jobs created since February 2010, when employment bottomed out after the recession, the report finds.

Even if Marcellus Shale-related industries had created no jobs in 2010, the state still would have ranked third in overall job growth among the 50 states.

“The Marcellus boom has contributed to job growth, but the size of that contribution has been significantly overstated,” Herzenberg said.

“To explain Pennsylvania’s relatively strong recent job growth requires looking at factors other than Marcellus Shale, such as the state’s investments in education, renewable energy, work-force skills, and unemployment benefits,” he added.

The report also states that any economic benefit from the Marcellus Shale must be balanced against the impact of drilling on other industries, such as tourism and the Pennsylvania hardwoods industry.

To sustain Pennsylvania’s strong economic performance, policymakers should adopt a drilling tax or fee that helps finance job-creating investments in education and the economy, as well as providing resources to protect the environment and address infrastructure needs, the report recommends.

Marcellus Shale Coalition President and Executive Director Kathryn Klaber called the brief a “thinly veiled, politically timed attack on an industry that is creating family-sustaining jobs for men and women across the commonwealth.”

Klaber said Marcellus development is fueling economic growth, employment and investments in roads and infrastructure at rates not seen in decades.

“According to the Department of Labor and Industry, unemployment in counties with Marcellus development remains below the state average. Along Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier, where development is most concentrated, employment has jumped 1,500 percent since the end of 2007,” Klaber said.

Furthermore, Klaber said, Marcellus operators are investing billions of dollars into Pennsylvania’s economy – from constructing state-of-the-art operating facilities, to building new offices, to leasing land for responsible development and driving economic growth in our rural communities.

“Take into account the more than $1 billion in taxes generated by Marcellus activity over the past half-decade, stable and affordable energy prices made possible by responsible natural gas development, and the ancillary employment impacts cascading through businesses across the commonwealth, and only then can the full act of Marcellus development be realized. Once again, the rhetoric of opponents of Pennsylvania’s clean and abundant energy supply is simply not squaring with reality,” Klaber said.

“People who were out of work and now have jobs thanks to Marcellus development are more than statistics, and they are proud that they now have jobs. Attempting to trivialize their new employment opportunities simply to fulfill a political agenda not only denies the real economic benefits from Marcellus, but also demeans the very people who are employed,” she said.

Click here to read the original article.

PA Newsmakers: Feature Marcellus Shale Update

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Hundreds Rally In State Capitol Protesting Marcellus Shale Drilling

On Wednesday, June 8, 2011 0 comments

(Harrisburg) – Hundreds of Pennsylvania residents rallied at the State Capitol today protesting the state legislature’s inaction on Marcellus Shale drilling.  The coalition of groups holding the rally called it the largest that Harrisburg has seen to date protesting Marcellus Shale gas drilling.

The coalition called for:

1. A moratorium on further drilling in Pennsylvania until a full cumulative impact analysis on gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale is conducted.

2. Improved protections from gas drilling for drinking water supplies and rivers.

3. Ensuring that gas drillers pay their fair share in taxes, and utilizing these funds to restore cuts to the DEP budget.

4. Require full disclosure by gas drillers of all chemicals used.

5. Maintain the moratorium on further leasing of State Forest land for gas drilling.

Groups sponsoring the rally and lobby day included: PA Campaign for Clean Water, Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, PennEnvironment, Gas Truth of Central PA, League of Women Voters of PA, Physicians for Social Responsibility Philadelphia, Marcellus Protest, EARTHWORKS Oil and Gas Accountability Project, Green Party of Philadelphia, Mountain Watershed Association, Responsible Drilling Alliance.

Crystal Stroud, a resident of Towanda, PA, in Bradford County, described her health problems caused by drinking water contaminated with barium and other toxins from nearby gas drilling.  “No one is receiving help from our DEP, local, state or federal governments.  Our family has become collateral damage!  We are just 1 of the 33% failure rate of these gas companies. The failure to keep the residents of Bradford County’s wells contaminant free,” she stated. 

Click Here to read the entire story at

Morgantown WV Passes Fracking Ban

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According to an article published in West Virginia's Metro News - Morgantown City Council went ahead on Tuesday evening with its proposed ban on fracking concerning the drilling of Marcellus Shale.  The council approved the first reading of the ordinance which would prohibit fracking in the city and within one mile of the city limits as well.
“We believe that conventional oil and gas operations have been done for a hundred years in this state and they can be done safely without the exercise of this extraordinary power,” said Morgantown Mayor Bill Byrne.  “So, we’ve limited it to the fracking.”

The move stems from the placement of a gas well near Morgantown’s water treatment plant. The well, which is in operation, is right across the Monongahela River from the Morgantown Utility Board treatment facility.

The concern from residents is that any type of accident from the well could poison the city’s water supply.  In all, 48 people spoke during the public forum portion of the meeting, many of those comments also concerning the first reading of the smoking ban in the city which passed as well. 
Meanwhile, West Virginia Oil and Gas executive director Corky DeMarco was also in attendance – he says ordinances like the one passed in Morgantown could eventually be detrimental to Marcellus Shale drilling overall.

“Quite frankly, I think this is a little quick of judgment,” DeMarco said.  “We do need, and our association advocated, for comprehensive rules for Marcellus drilling.  But the problem is, if you continue to enact city ordinances, we could have thousands of laws and various laws (statewide)
which would make it very, very difficult to do business.”

Meanwhile, DeMarco said he thinks there’s also been a misunderstanding about the risks
involved with fracking and potential contamination.

“We operate a closed-looped system,” DeMarco continued.  “Frac fluid does not get into the water systems, doesn’t get into the air and doesn’t spill on the ground.  I think if these people were a little bit more reasonable in their thought process – if frac fluid did all these terrible things to people, we would be killing workers in this industry on a daily basis and that’s not the case.”

Click Here to read the entire article at Metro News.

PRO Drilling... and, here's why.

On Thursday, June 2, 2011 0 comments

We have read countless articles from groups and individuals, alike that fear groundwater contamination, destroyed land, getting a "bad deal" and the possibility of a fire or other disaster that would compromise the safety of their family and their land during and/or after the marcellus shale drilling process.

Luckily, many of these fears can be avoided by contacting a licensed law firm who specializes in Marcellus Shale/Gas Lease Negotiations. Addendums can be put into place which will protect your most important assets; your family and your land.

We decided to focus on the other side of the story, the citizens, farmers and landowners who are PRO drilling and their reasoning for being "on board" with the marcellus shale revolution. Here are are the top 5 reasons, we found that individuals argue on the PRO drilling side of the debate.

5. Development of the Marcellus Shale is likely to have a tremendous positive impact on our state and national economies and contribute mightily to our country’s energy security. At a time when so many neighbors are out of work or underemployed and our country is dangerously dependent on unstable and unreliable foreign sources of energy, an opportunity like this to generate jobs here at home and reduce our vulnerability to supply disruptions abroad is a real godsend.

4. Drilling the Marcellus in Pennsylvania during a two-year period ending in 2010 created 44,000 jobs. Similar performance is expected in New York, with the addition of $11.4 billion to the New York economy over the next 10 years if development takes place.

 3. The Energy in Depth website states that the controversoal report released by Cornell uses inflated figures to exaggerate the so-called “global warming potential” of natural gas production, makes unwarranted assumptions about insignificant levels of alleged gas leakage, relies on irrelevant and/or inadequate data, and betrays a political agenda.

2. Natural gas is one of the cleanest, safest, most affordable fuels available — and development of the Marcellus Shale will make it even more affordable, even as it generates thousands of jobs and millions in revenue for our beleaguered state.

1. Local Farmers and Landowners benefit from the royalty payments, local government will benefit if a "proposed marcellus tax" is passed and the entire community benefits from the income, purchases and jobs that marcellus shale drilling brings in to every community that they start drilling in.

*Note: The 5 points above do not reflect the personal views of Safe Shale Lease, LLC or it's representatives. The opinions reflected above were compiled from a variety of opinion-related articles in news sources accross Pennsylvania.

Proposed Drilling on College Campuses, Not a New Concept

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ASSOCIATED PRESS -- The reactions ranged from startled to silly. Was Gov. Tom Corbett serious when he said in April that state college campuses situated over the Marcellus shale could be opened to natural gas drilling?
Environmentalists conjured images of dirty, dangerous drill rigs sprawling across campus quadrangles. In newspaper website comment fields, readers asked, "Is he joking?"

An upstate legislator has already crafted a bill that would allow campus drilling. Preliminary talks with school officials have begun. And there is a model to work from: Oil and gas wells are nothing new on campuses and other public spaces out West.

Natural gas wells drilled in 2009 are generating millions in royalties for the University of Texas in Arlington. Multistory oil derricks sit just outside the front door of the state Capitol in Oklahoma City. Even Indiana University of Pennsylvania once powered its campus with natural gas from four wells.

Now Corbett, who wants to lift a moratorium on expanded gas drilling in state forests and open prison property to drilling, says the Marcellus shale natural gas reserve could be a boon to state-supported colleges.

In a speech near Erie to trustees from the 14 universities in the state system, Corbett said it was time to consider opening land to drilling on the six campuses within the shale reserve.

"I will tell you, we are looking at the prisons of Pennsylvania and the land that they have," he added.

Kenn Marshall, spokesman for the State System of Higher Education, said preliminary discussions had been taking place about using gas drilling to generate revenue for the system's universities. Four of those schools are directly atop the shale: Mansfield, Lock Haven, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and California. Two others, Clarion and Slippery Rock, are on the edges of the reserve.

Because those colleges' lands are state-owned -- as are the mineral rights -- any income from such drilling would have to go into state coffers. That is, Marshall said, unless the law is changed to allow universities to keep gas royalties.

State Rep. Matt Baker, R-Tioga, whose district is in the heart of the Marcellus shale drilling region, has introduced a bill that would permit the schools to retain 60 percent of the gas royalties, with the rest going to state-system universities that didn't host well sites. The proposal says schools could use the money to pay for capital projects and to improve energy efficiency.

Some academics and environmentalists promptly condemned the idea. Robert Myers, director of environmental studies and a professor of English at Lock Haven University, said he had been thoroughly disgusted when he heard of Corbett's comments.

"It suggests how detached from reality he is," said Myers, who supports a moratorium on drilling. "The thought of exposing our students to an industry with such a long record of accidents is appalling."

No Pennsylvania State University land, either at its University Park campus or branches, is within the exploration area for the shale, a spokeswoman said.

To read the original article published on, Click Here.

Environmental Groups Submit Proposals to Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission

On Wednesday, June 1, 2011 0 comments

A handful of environmental groups are in agreement that they want to see stricter regulations placed on Marcellus Shale Drilling, and they are detailing out a proposal that addresses a variety of issues including a possible tax, planning and legal enforcement components of Marcellus Shale.

According to an article published by the Patriot News and distributed on Penn Live, "The four environmental groups on the governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission all agree they want to see stricter regulation of wastewater from drilling, better planning and updates to the Oil and Gas Act aimed at improving safety and collecting data.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy submitted a total of 20 recommendations to the Commission by the Tuesday deadline. All of the groups agreed on 14 of the proposals, three of them agreed on another four and two proposals were sponsored by one group alone.

Three of the four groups support the “timely enactment of a fair and meaningful fee or tax” on shale gas with some of the proceeds allocated to “Growing Greener” programs.

The groups were unanimous in their support of tighter regulation of highly polluted wastewater from drilling. They say the recent DEP request that companies not take wastewater to treatment plants where it is released into rivers “should become a legally enforceable requirement.”

They also call for trucks transporting the waste to keep complete manifests — including the source of the waste, the destination, and a complete list of chemicals and compounds — and for those manifests to be submitted to DEP.

There was also unanimous agreement that drilling sites should be held to the same standards for erosion and sedimentation as construction sites.

Six of the proposals explicitly relate to improved planning, specifically calling for increased coordination to reduce forest fragmentation and impacts to threatened species.

The groups propose changes to the Oil and Gas Act that would drastically alter the permitting process, which currently emphasizes speed of approval as opposed to comprehensive planning.

They propose a two-phase process in which site location permits would require a host of planning elements including notification of local officials and residents, water quality data, plans to minimize forest fragmentation and impacts to threatened species as well as public comment. Phase one permits would be good for three years and transferrable to other companies. Phase two - for authorization to drill - would follow the current process.

The four groups were also united in calling for the state to require more datailed and complete information from drilling companies, including complete list of chemicals used at each site as well as drilling records indicating depth of potable aquifers encountered, radioactive logs and all geologic formations in which methane was encountered.

More complete information could help solve the issue of gas migration, which even industry groups admit has perplexed them.

A drilling log from one Marcellus well in the northern tier showed methane present in every geologic level below about 40 feet.

The environmental groups call for increased set-back requirements and mandated testing of private water wells within 2,500 feet of a well site before drilling begins.

They also call for the creation of “an independent and multi-disciplinary Marcellus Science Advisory Panel” comprised of leading researchers who would be responsible for reviewing and evaluating current research findings and determining their applicability to Pennsylvania.

The independent Science Advisory Panel would recommend changes in policies and best practices based on their evaluation of the research.

The panel would also create a research agenda for Pennsylvania prioritizing research needs and working with state agencies and universities to make sure those needs are met.

Both Gov. Tom Corbett and DEP Secretary Michael Krancer have stressed the need for environmental policy to be based on science. "

To read the original article, click here.

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