Lieutenant Governor Meets With Marcellus Shale Task Force

On Friday, July 29, 2011 0 comments

According to a July 29th article published by The Republican Herald - Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor challenged Schuylkill County's newly formed Marcellus Shale task force to make recommendations to the county commissioners based on fact and not emotion regarding the county's role in the future of the deep drilling industry.

"I would challenge you to get to the truth, get to the science, and paint the picture in a truthful way," Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley said Thursday. Cawley, a guest at an informal question-and-answer session held at the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce building in Pottsville, commended the county for creating a Marcellus Shale task force to analyze effects of drilling by the natural gas industry - the 16th county to do so.

Also attending were chamber President Bill Wydra, county commissioners Mantura M. Gallagher and Frank J. Staudenmeier, county engineer Lisa Mahal, county grant writer Gary Bender, state Sen. Dave Argall, R-29; state Rep. Jerry Knowles, R-124; Mike Hanley, a representative of U.S. Rep. Tim Holden, D-17; Ed Kleha, representing state Rep. Neal P. Goodman, D-123; and Scott Thomas, a representative of state Rep. Mike Tobash, R-125.

Cawley, a former Bucks County commissioner, heads Gov. Tom Corbett's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, which was charged with developing policy recommendations on economic development and regulation of natural gas drilling.

Corbett formed the 30-member commission in March, giving them 120 days to develop recommendations on all aspects of natural gas drilling. The commission held 21 public meetings, heard 60 expert presentations and reviewed more than 650 emails and letters from the public.
"Rome wasn't built in a day and you can't study all of Marcellus Shale in 120," Cawley said Thursday. "We did discover a lot."

The state advisory commission released their final report July 22 containing 96 policy recommendations that include tougher regulations for drilling, doubling fines for violations, creating jobs in related industries and promoting the use of natural gas vehicles.

Cawley said the Corbett administration is ruling out a severance tax on the Marcellus Shale drilling industry, but not ruling out an impact fee. If a severance tax were implemented, Cawley said executives of the natural gas industry potentially could choose to do business elsewhere."

We have to be sensitive to the fact that we can price ourselves right out of the market," Cawley said.
Knowles said he has been witness to many discussions on Marcellus Shale which, he said, were based on misinformation.

"Putting a tax on it won't solve all of our financial problems," Knowles said. "I had the opportunity to visit a drilling site and I am firmly convinced it can be done safely."
Kleha said a number of Goodman's constituents are concerned that drilling would leave the county landscape worse than it all ready is.

"This area was raped and pillaged by the Industrial Revolution. Can you guarantee that what is left of this land will be returned to its natural order?" Kleha asked.

"I believe we have learned from the sins of our fathers, both in the timber and coal industries, and we will prohibit the irresponsibilities of the past," Cawley said. "We are going to make provisions for things like that. We will take the appropriate steps to continue to be good stewards of the environment."

Huge amounts of natural gas lie in the Marcellus Shale formation and are being developed in Northeastern Pennsylvania. No wells are yet planned for the county, although Susan A. Smith, director of county planning and geographic information systems, told the task force at its first meeting held June 15 that almost all of the county is in the Marcellus Shale area and one local landfill is accepting items from such activities.

"There is a Marcellus Shale in Schuylkill County but it is at a greater depth than what is being drilled now," Mahal said Thursday.

Rausch Creek Land LP of Valley View filed paperwork with the county's engineering office late last year, informing Schuylkill County of plans to withdraw up to 100,000 gallons of water daily from an abandoned stripping mine pit in Porter Township. The company said the purpose for the withdrawal is to provide water for future Marcellus Shale wells. It is unclear whether those wells would be in Schuylkill County. The water withdrawal plan must first be approved by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission.

The Schuylkill County commissioners established the 15-member county task force in May to identify key issues, conduct research, generate public awareness and review and recommend public policy regarding Marcellus Shale activities.

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Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale Drilling Report Released

On Thursday, July 28, 2011 0 comments

According to a July 27th article published by the River Reporter, It’s not clear if the legislature and the governor will embrace any of the 96 recommendations contained in a new report from the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, but if they do, there could be significant changes coming to the way gas drilling with high-volume hydraulic fracturing is conducted in Pennsylvania.

The commission’s recommendations, which were released on July 22, did not say anything about a severance tax on gas drilling and, in fact, when Governor Tom Corbett ordered the creation of the commission in March, he barred the participants from considering a tax. But they did make a recommendation regarding fees.

The report said, “Based upon the testimony presented, research conducted and first-hand personal experiences, the commission recommends the enactment of—or authorization to impose a fee for—the purpose of mitigating and offsetting the uncompensated portion of demonstrated impacts borne by the citizens and local governments of the Commonwealth attributable to unconventional natural gas development.”

David M. Sanko, executive director of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, who was a member of the commission, said, “By embracing a local impact fee, the commission is helping to avoid potential property tax increases. At the same time, the commission endorsed the preservation of local common-sense zoning over a state-mandated ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. This ensures that our local leaders and citizens maximize the benefits of natural gas exploration and minimize the negative impacts.”

Among the other notable recommendations is that natural gas should be considered an alternative energy. The report says the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act of 2004, which requires electricity providers to purchase 18% of the power they distribute from renewable sources by 2020, should be amended to say that natural gas from the Marcellus Shale is an acceptable alternative energy.

This has caused concern among some environmentalists who say that making gas part of the mix would cause other renewable sources to be used less, and since natural gas is already used to create a large amount of electricity in Pennsylvania no incentive is needed.

Lt. Governor Jim Cawley, who chaired the 30-member commission, released a statement that said, “This commission brought the industry, environmental groups and local government leaders together to the same table where we methodically and publicly worked out these comprehensive recommendations.”

Among the recommendations listed in the press release were: Increasing the distance between gas well sites and streams, private wells and public water systems; posting more information online for the public; instituting tougher civil and criminal penalties for violators; assisting PA companies to do business with the natural gas industry; training Pennsylvanians to work in the industry; and developing “Green Corridors” for vehicles powered by natural gas.

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Religious Leaders Debate Fracking

On Wednesday, July 27, 2011 0 comments

ASSOCIATED PRESS - Bishops, nuns and rabbis are joining the environmental and social debate over natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale region, and many are seeking a balance that reflects their congregations.

"We have people's lives who are being blessed or adversely affected by this," said Bishop Thomas Bickerton of Pittsburgh, who leads more than 800 United Methodist congregations and 187,000 members in western Pennsylvania, where major drilling is taking place.

"The conversations within the church are rather lively and robust," Bickerton said, and he thinks gas drilling "warrants some careful looking" by religious groups and public officials.

Bickerton told The Associated Press that it's a delicate topic. On one hand, he's very supportive of the economic development which gas drilling has spurred across the region. On the other, he said it appears the state has not thoroughly looked at all the issues around drilling, its impact on communities and the environment.

And as a West Virginia native, he's seen how mining for another natural resource - coal - has helped and hurt communities.

Energy companies have identified major reserves of natural gas throughout the Marcellus Shale, a shale formation that 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, which injects chemical-laced water to break up the shale and allow natural gas to escape into the shale to push out the minerals. Environmental groups and the Environmental Protection Agency have expressed concerns about how the process impacts water, soil and air quality. But the industry insists it is safe.

Bickerton is one of several religious and community leaders who last month signed a protest letter to U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. The letter, which originated with the Environmental Working Group of Washington, D.C., questioned the makeup of a federal committee that is reviewing fracking impacts, and asked for more community involvement in the review process.

Bickerton's western Pennsylvania United Methodist Conference is one of many groups that have used church publications to examine the benefits and pitfalls of fracking. An article titled "The Morality of Fracking" appeared in The National Catholic Reporter last month, and the Reform Jewish Voice of New York State endorsed the drilling moratorium there.

Scientific and environmental issues aren't the only concern.

"I believe personally that the church does have responsibility to engage the wider body of the community about what's moral and what's not. What's ethical and what's not," said Bickerton. He said he doesn't want to inhibit economic growth, yet is concerned that some in his congregation have been taken advantage of, such as with contracts they don't understand or side effects they haven't considered.

Norman Wirzba, a professor of Theology, Ecology, and Rural Life at Duke Divinity School in North Carolina, said he thinks it's noteworthy that Bickerton, the leader of a large congregation, is speaking out.

"There is a history within American Christianity with just being concerned with getting the soul to heaven," Wirzba said. Religious environmental activism dates back to the 1950s and 60s, but it often presents great challenges at the local level. If a religious group seeks to change the whole economic system, then the very livelihood of the people they serve can be put into jeopardy, he said.

"What you really need is a kind of activism that can speak out against injustices, but also propose alternatives," Wirzba said. "The last thing we need is well-meaning environmentalists running around the world telling people how to live."

Fracking is one of many environmental issues that religious groups have debated in recent years. The National Religious Partnership for the Environment includes perspectives from Evangelical, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Interfaith groups. In April, the Kentucky group Blessed Earth used the slogan "Make Earth Day a Church Day" and a "Green Bible" was recently published, with essays and "passages that speak to God's care for creation highlighted in green."

In some cases, religious groups see gas drilling as a way to support charitable work.

Kathryn Klaber, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a drilling industry group, said she was surprised last year to find that dozens of religious groups had entered into gas drilling leases.

"That to me was real eye-opener, when you're literally funding mission through the leasing of mineral rights," said Klaber, who believes religious groups can help in the process of distributing some of the newfound wealth that gas drilling is generating.

One example is Camp Agape, a bible camp set on 257 acres in Hickory, Pa., about 25 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. It was founded 50 years ago, and is owned and operated by an association made up of 17 congregations from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

About four years ago the camp decided to lease drilling rights to Range Resources, said Charles Wingert, a member of the all-volunteer board of directors.

"It's been a good experience for us. Not without some worry and trepidation," Wingert said. "Basically we were living on a shoestring for many, many years."

The camp, which serves about 150 children each summer, runs a program that provides intensive tutoring for kids who are struggling with reading and math.

"We're really enthused that we're able to help children, and we couldn't do this without the additional income," Wingert said. The lease payments have also helped in upgrading the camp and keeping fees low, and may ultimately provide for an endowment. They've also helped the camp survive.

"I think we would not be here without the income," said Wingert, who added that board members felt that the gas below the camp is part of God's creation, just like forests and streams.

Some religious groups think another way to address the fracking issue is to start at the top, by engaging and pressuring large corporations.

Sister Nora Nash is director of the corporate social responsibility program at the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, which was founded more than 150 years ago. The order began caring for smallpox patients in 1858 and opened St. Mary's Hospital for the poor in 1860.

The group has a long history of asking the corporations in which the sisters invest to be more socially conscious. Nash visited western Pa. last year to talk to people in communities where fracking was taking place, and was disturbed by what she saw. Her group also signed the protest letter to the Secretary of Energy.

"All of the poorest of the poor are not getting the jobs. Everyplace we looked there was a white truck from Oklahoma or Texas," she said.

Earlier this year the Sisters of St. Francis joined with other religious groups to file a formal shareholder proposal with energy giant Chevron, which has purchased large holdings in the Marcellus region.

The proposal asked Chevron to look at ways to go "above and beyond regulatory requirements" and reduce or eliminate hazards to air, water and soil quality from fracking. Several related proposals were put before energy companies, and Nash was encouraged by the response. On average, the shareholder proposals seeking greater transparency on fracking got 30 percent of the vote, and in one case, 42 percent.

Chevron's board responded to the shareholder fracking proposal by noting that the company "is already committed to meeting or exceeding all applicable laws and regulations," and that the new suggestions "would merely duplicate Chevron's current efforts and thus would be a waste of stockholder money."

But over time it is possible to influence corporations, Nash said.

"We are active in shareholder advocacy. We've been working with Chevron for about 10 years. And last year Chevron did sign a human rights policy. And we felt really good about that," Nash said.

"I think their intentions are good," Nash said of Chevron. "But they have a long way to go to look at the significant risks to human health" that fracking may pose.

Wirzba said the North Carolina Council of Churches is working on a statement, and Rabbi Arthur Waskow of Philadelphia's Shalom Center has written articles critical of fracking.

Sybil Sanchez, director of the New York-based Coalition on Environment and Jewish Life, said her group supports increasing energy independence in ways that also protect the environment, which they see as God's Creation. But fracking is of particular concern because of the number of unknown chemicals used and the impact it has on local citizens and their access to clean water, Sanchez said.

Ultimately, Wirzba said that if religious groups want to change how natural gas drilling interacts with communities, words aren't enough.

"You're not going to change the lives of people really, unless you live with them," he said. "That means you can't do it just by holding a poster. You gotta do it by moving into a neighborhood."

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Hydro-Fracking in Northeast Township - Off Table for Now...

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The controversy over hydro-fracking in North East Township is over, for now.

The issue was brought up in mid-June, at a regular township supervisors meeting. A huge crowd attended the meeting, to voice their concerns. But in a unanimous decision, supervisors voted to table two ordinances. The first one, involves zoning. Under the current plan, companies must drill at least 500 feet away from any structure. Several landowners in attendance said that worries them, because it could take away their right to drill on their own land.

The second ordinance involves banning chemical hydro-fracking in the township for one year. But several farmes said that if that were to pass, it may open up the door for restrictions on the types of chemicals they can use on their crops. The meeting comes just days after Lake Erie Energy Partners announced their decision to halt drilling operations on 10 wells in North East. One well is already drilled.

The three supervisors agreed, that they need more time to review the plan before making a final decision.

Mountain State Science - Marcellus Shale Drilling

On Friday, July 22, 2011 0 comments

Industry Report Says Marcellus Shale Drilling is Up

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Investment in the Marcellus Shale natural gas field is growing faster than expected in Pennsylvania, with both the number of wells drilled and the amount of gas extracted soaring between 2009 and 2010, according to an industry-sponsored report released Wednesday.

Gas production quadrupled during the one-year period, while the number of wells in use jumped 77 percent, according to the report by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, which paid for the study.
The report estimates that this year's production will be more than 2 1/2 times last year's, and projects steady growth through 2020.

Thousands of wells have been drilled across the state in just the last few years, though not all are in production. The boom has raised environmental concerns about the use of hydraulic fracturing, a drilling technique in which water, sand and a small amount of chemicals are used to open gas-bearing shale formations deep underground.

The researchers found that natural gas production jumped from 300 million cubic feet per day to 1.3 billion from 2009 to last year. The number of wells in use increased from 595 in 2009 to 1,055 during that time.
A Penn State University expert not involved with the report said that while early production data are encouraging, long-term estimates should be viewed with caution.

Michael Arthur of Penn State's Department of Geosciences said the short-term performance of wells in north-central Pennsylvania "is much better than expected." If the Marcellus wasn't profitable, energy companies "wouldn't be forging ahead" at the current pace, he said. He added, however, that "we don't have data to effectively make accurate long-term projections."

Whatever happens in the future, leaseholders already are reaping benefits. The study found that companies paid about $1.85 billion in lease and royalty payments in 2010. That figure is expected to fall this year to about $1.5 billion, and then rise again in 2012.

The authors of the study were Penn State researchers Timothy Considine, Robert Watson and Seth Blumsack of the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering. They estimated that 2,300 new wells may be drilled this year and about 2,400 more in each of the next five years.

Environmental advocates and communities where there is large-scale drilling have been pressing for an extraction tax or fee on the burgeoning industry. A commission appointed by Gov. Tom Corbett has recommended such a fee, but did not suggest how much companies should pay. Pennsylvania is the largest drilling state that doesn't impose a tax or fee on natural gas extraction.

Kathyrn Klaber, president and executive director of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, signaled support Wednesday for an impact fee. Acknowledging there are "some unmet needs," she said: "A reasonable, competitive impact fee that takes those dollars back to the community in which we are operating is probably the right model to move forward with."

Total Marcellus spending is projected to rise to $12.7 billion this year from $3.2 billion in 2008, according to the report. It also claims robust employment growth, with about 60,000 jobs in 2009 growing to nearly 140,000 last year. The industry projects it will have more than 156,000 employees this year.
Companies represented at a press conference for the study Wednesday said they're already hiring more workers.

The report suggests that the Marcellus could become the largest producing gas field in the U.S. by 2020, supporting perhaps 250,000 jobs. It could supply a quarter of the nation's natural gas if those projections come true.

Anastasia Shcherbakova, a professor of energy economics at Penn State, said long-term production estimates are subject to many variables, including price, market demand and political factors. She said companies may need to find customers outside of the U.S. if Marcellus production continues to rise dramatically. But they would have to make expensive upgrades to their plants so they could convert the gas into liquid form, which is more suitable for shipping. For that to happen, the U.S. government might have to pass legislation with tax credits, she said.

The industry group paid the Penn State researchers $100,000 to conduct the study and report their findings. The school said it does not make any warranty to the accuracy of the information, which was obtained by confidential surveys of the industry.

PA Treatment Plant Sued Over Drilling Wastewater

On Thursday, July 21, 2011 0 comments

Two environmental groups sued a Pittsburgh-area municipal sewage plant on Tuesday, saying it never got a permit from the state to treat often-toxic Marcellus Shale drilling wastewater, although the plant's head said it has stopped treating the wastewater.

The lawsuit was filed in Pittsburgh federal court against the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport by Clean Water Action and Three Rivers Waterkeeper under a citizen enforcement provision of the federal Clean Water Act.

The groups contend that the authority, along with other wastewater treatment plants, accepted the wastewater without ever properly seeking authorization by the state, which should have included submission of an application, public notice and comment.

Since drilling companies began using high-volume hydraulic fracturing in earnest in 2008 to extract natural gas from the shale, they have taken millions of barrels of the briny waste to treatment plants that discharge into rivers where utilities also draw drinking water for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Pennsylvanians.

Amid growing concern over harm to drinking water, the state Department of Environmental Protection set a May 19 deadline for drilling companies to stop taking the salty, chemically tainted wastewater to riverside treatment plants -- 16 in all, mostly in western Pennsylvania -- which are ill-equipped to remove all the pollutants.

McKeesport authority executive director Joe Rost said the plant has heeded the DEP request and is not accepting the wastewater any longer, but he said that officials there don't want to approve a formal ban in case technologies develop that would enable the plant to treat such water effectively in the future.
The lawsuit is seeking a formal ban on the plant accepting the wastewater to safeguard the Monongahela River, which provides drinking water to the Pittsburgh and several suburbs.

A key goal of the lawsuit is to stop the treatment plants from taking the wastewater, beyond the DEP's voluntary request, Myron Arnowitt of Clean Water Action.

"We'd like to have some legal, verifiable way of knowing that plants are not going to take this wastewater," Myron Arnowitt said. "DEP has asked drillers to take voluntary action and some have said that they're doing that. Our concern is that that could change next week and we could end up back where we started."

SM Energy Sells Assets for $80 Million

On Monday, July 18, 2011 0 comments

July 18 (Reuters) - Oil and gas company SM Energy Co said it will exit the Marcellus shale by selling the assets there for about $80 million to a unit of Endeavour International Corp .

The acreages to be sold at McKean and Potter counties of Pennsylvania include three producing wells with average first-quarter production of 2 million cubic feet of oil equivalent per day (mmcfe/d).

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

The Marcellus shale, which stretches from West Virginia and Ohio across Pennsylvania and into New York, is one of the biggest natural gas finds in the United States in decades, but the hydraulic fracturing drilling used to tap into the vast quantities the fuel that is locked in the shale rock there has prompted environmental concerns in the region.

The company last year had said it expects to raise at least $300-$500 million over the next 12 months via joint venture agreements and sale of assets, including its Marcellus shale positions.

SM Energy shares closed at $77.77 on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Marcellus Drilling Firm Retires Friendly "Fracasaurus"

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Talisman Terry, the "friendly Fracosaurus," is history.

According to an article published on, "Talisman Energy USA Inc., the natural gas producer active in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale, has discontinued distribution of its dinosaur-themed coloring book, which became a nationwide object of ridicule after comedian Stephen Colbert lampooned it Monday on his Comedy Central show.

Talisman Terry was removed from the Canadian company's website because of the unwanted media attention, said Natalie Cox, a spokeswoman for Talisman, whose U.S. headquarters are in Pittsburgh.
Talisman created the coloring book two years ago as part of its community outreach in rural areas of Pennsylvania and New York. The "Fracosaurus," depicted in hard hat and work boots, presented a simplified version of natural gas extraction that anti-drilling activists criticized as propagandistic."

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Ohio Cashing In on PA's Fracking Waste Water

On Wednesday, July 6, 2011 0 comments

(ASSOCIATED PRESS)  PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvania's waste is becoming Ohio's million-dollar treasure.

Gas drillers tapping into the Marcellus Shale are shipping more fracking waste to neighboring Ohio for disposal deep underground, putting it on pace to bank nearly $1 million in fees this year from out-of-state drillers, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Tuesday.

The amount of wastewater Ohio accepted from out-of-state drillers jumped 25 percent in the first quarter, compared with the last quarter of 2010, likely in part because Pennsylvania officials this year increased pressure on drillers to keep fracking waste out of surface water, said Tom Tomastik of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Drillers "have to do something with this waste," said Pam Melott, manager at WTC Gas Field Services, one of several haulers newly registered to ship to Ohio. "There's a lot of prospective customers. Our customers have called me and they want to know, 'What are we going to do?' ... So, yes, they're very interested in this."

Pennsylvania has six active deep-injection disposal wells, all in the western half of the state, but state Department of Environmental Protection records show drillers rely completely on Ohio to take their waste. Companies sent nearly 14.8 million gallons for underground disposal in the last six months of 2010, the most recent statistics available.

Drillers are contemplating developing disposal wells in both states, government regulators and industry officials said. More haulers are registering to carry shipments to Ohio, and one developer is considering a rail line covering several hundred miles, Tomastik said.

To free gas from the rock formation more than a mile underground, drillers use more than 4 million gallons of water per well. Laced with chemicals and shot at high pressure, the fluid breaks through the earth, but more than a fifth of it returns to the surface with chemicals, solids and metals freed from underground. That water must be treated either for reuse or disposal.

The Pennsylvania DEP in August set stricter standards for the amount of solids wastewater plants can take in. This spring, the agency asked drillers to stop taking Marcellus water, sparking the search for options.

Every oil and gas well produces brine, and that salty water has to go somewhere, said Patrick Creighton, spokesman for the Cecil-based Marcellus Shale Coalition, which represents drillers.
As regulations tightened and pressure mounted, more Marcellus shale drillers moved toward recycling. Several of the region's most active drillers said they recycle 90 percent to 100 percent of the water they use, sending what can't be recycled to Ohio or to a specialized treatment plant in Williamsport.

Some of the wastewater may take years to return to the surface. It contains such high concentrations of salt that often it can't be recycled, said Matt Pitzarella, spokesman for Texas-based Range Resources, which has offices in Cecil.

Underground injection wells long have been the primary disposal spots in states including Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas — but not in Pennsylvania, experts and industry officials said.

To bore an affordable, effective disposal well requires a permeable layer of earth that will absorb the waste and an impermeable layer above to trap it, all about 4,000 to 5,000 feet underground, said Badie Morsi, director of the University of Pittsburgh's Petroleum Engineering Program. Pennsylvania has that type of rock, but companies are either tapping it for gas or using it for underground gas storage, experts and industry officials said.

Ohio, in contrast, has plenty of unused, permeable, relatively shallow sandstone, Morsi said.
Since the Pennsylvania DEP's request to keep drilling waste out of rivers, inquiries nearly tripled for disposal wells in Pennsylvania, said David Sternberg, a spokesman at the EPA, which oversees the state's disposal wells. Yet, no developers have applied, he said.

Those developers likely would have to drill 12,000 to 15,000 feet to find acceptable disposal space, Morsi said. That could cost three times as much as boring a well in Ohio, he said.
Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
—Copyright 2011 Associated Press

No Marcellus Shale Tax for Pennsylvania: 3rd Year Straight

On Tuesday, July 5, 2011 0 comments

HARRISBURG - When the deal was finally done, the budget was smaller than last year's by 3 percent. It was on time by 13 minutes. And true to Gov. Corbett's pledge, it contained no new taxes.

So, as he prepared to sign his first budget late Thursday night, an exultant Corbett proclaimed the $27.15 billion spending plan a victory for "Pennsylvania's working families."

Corbett had reason to exult. He had confronted a $4 billion deficit head on and had gotten just enough consensus from legislative leaders on where, and how much, to cut. At the same time, absent from the 373-page document were the words tripping off the tongues of virtually everyone involved in the budget debate and many across the state: Marcellus Shale.

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