fracking

Kumar Appaiah / via flickr

What’s in a name? A lot, apparently, when it comes to Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry. A state House committee voted along party lines Monday, to rebrand the impact fee levied on the state’s Marcellus Shale drillers, calling it a severance tax instead. 

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation / Flickr

 

President Donald Trump revived the Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota Access pipeline with a highly publicized executive order this week. In New York State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has quietly acted to further energy pipelines across the state. 

WabbyTwaxx / Flickr

Several counties in northeastern Pennsylvania have begun exploring the idea of forming a strategic alliance to pressure the state legislature to change oil and gas royalty law.

Scott Detrow / StateImpact Pennsylvania

EPA’s fracking study, published last week, was supposed to be the definitive look at whether or not drilling for shale gas and shale oil impacts drinking water. But instead, the final report concluded that fracking impacts drinking water “under some circumstances,” and qualified that conclusion with a discussion about a lack of definitive data.

Mike Groll / AP Photo

In December 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration decided not to allow fracking within New York’s borders. But two years later, scientists and professors from Cornell University say the state’s use of natural gas is on the rise, increasing by 18 percent with more than 500,000 new business and residential customers signing up for gas service.

Amanda Hrycyna for APM Reports

Top officials of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last year made critical changes at the eleventh hour to a highly anticipated, five-year scientific study of hydraulic fracturing’s effect on the nation’s drinking water. The changes, later criticized by scientists for lacking evidence, played down the risk of pollution that can result from the well-drilling technique known as fracking. 

dougtone / Flickr

 

Opponents of a pipeline expansion that would flow through vast portions of New York want the Cuomo Administration to deny a key permit that could halt the upgrade. 

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation / Flickr

A group of state lawmakers is teaming up with environmental groups to ask Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration to ban the use of wastewater from hydrofracking and other oil and gas extraction from being spread on public roadways. 

What The Heck Is An Ethane Cracker?

Sep 12, 2016
BASF

Shell is moving forward with plans to build an ethane cracker facility near Pittsburgh. But what the heck is an ethane cracker? And what are the potential risks? The Allegheny Front’s energy reporter Reid Frazier did some digging and has everything you ever wanted to know about a kind of petrochemical facility you’ve probably never heard of.

Dwight Evans for Mayor / Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is walking back comments he made last month at the Democratic National Convention, when he said he’d “made a mistake” putting economic gains ahead of environmental protection in the early days of the state’s Marcellus Shale gas boom.

Joe Ulrich, WITF

A scientific advisory panel on Thursday stepped up its criticism of the Environmental Protection Agency’s controversial report on fracking, calling on the agency to provide evidence for its landmark conclusion that fracking for oil and gas has had “no widespread, systemic impacts” on drinking water.

eutrophication&hypoxia / Flickr

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned the disposal of hydraulic fracturing waste water at public sewage plants, formalizing a voluntary practice that removed most fracking waste from Pennsylvania plants starting in 2011.

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

Federal regulators got an earful at an angry public meeting about a proposed interstate natural gas pipeline in Lancaster County. About 350 people attended the meeting Monday night to give comments on the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Most of them were against the project.

In Photos: The Faces And Places Of The Fracking Boom

Jun 13, 2016

The story of the fracking boom in Pennsylvania and nearby states runs as an almost continuous narrative in the region’s press. But covering the blow-by-blow of new drilling sites, protests, lawsuits and regulations is just one way to look at how fracking has changed the region. 

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

At a recent legal forum in Harrisburg, a prominent natural gas industry executive suggested his company tries to avoid drilling near rich people. “I was infuriated when I heard it,” says Patrick Grenter, of the environmental advocacy group, the Center for Coalfield Justice. ”I was sitting with some colleagues and I said to them, ‘Did he really just say that?’”

JON HURDLE/STATEIMPACT PA

A Pennsylvania judge has dismissed an attempt by a group of natural gas leaseholders seeking to block environmentalists’ objections to a township’s plans to open itself up to gas drilling.

Towanda: After The Boom

Jun 2, 2016

A decade ago, Natural gas drilling came to Towanda, Pennsylvania. The town have never been the same.  

"More than most places, Pennsylvania is what lies beneath." That's a line Jennifer Haigh places at the beginning and the end of her latest novel, Heat & Light.

PA Commission OK’s New Oil And Gas Regulations

Apr 22, 2016
Lindsey Lazarski / WHYY

A state commission has signed off on significant changes to rules governing Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry. The approval signals a final step in an often contentious, five-year effort by the Department of Environmental Protection to modernize drilling regulations.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Two members of Governor Tom Wolf’s Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force say it was a frustrating experience. “It was a difficult thing for me personally and professionally,” says Cindy Ivey of the pipeline company, Williams.

Scott Lamar / WITF

The surge in gas drilling has not put a major strain on water supply in the Susquehanna River Basin, according to a new report from the regulatory body that oversees water withdrawals.

Lindsey Lazarski / WHYY

States at the center of the recent oil and gas boom should prepare for the inevitable bust and put drilling revenues into permanent trust funds, says a new report from the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings.

Mariner East 2 Update: Chainsaws, Tree Sitter Return

Apr 8, 2016
Reid Frazier / The Allegheny Front

A pipeline opponent in Huntingdon County has taken to the trees for the second time in a week. Elise Gerhart says she heard the sound of chainsaws buzzing on her family’s land this morning and was surprised to find Sunoco work crews cutting down trees after a March 31 deadline aimed at protecting the endangered Indiana bat.

Susan Phillips / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania public health campaigners have issued a new call for the establishment of a statewide registry of health complaints that could be related to oil and gas development.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

President Obama’s major climate change initiative, the Clean Power Plan, is currently in legal limbo as federal courts decide its fate.  But Governor Tom Wolf’s administration has decided to keep working on it anyway.

Reid Frazier / The Allegheny Front

A pair of protesters remained in trees Thursday as a deadline neared for clearing a path for a $2.5-billion natural gas pipeline.  Elise Gerhart, 29, of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, remained in a tree platform 40 feet above the ground on her family’s property. 

Reid Frazier / The Allegheny Front

As the chain saws revved nearby, Elise Gerhart was literally up a tree Tuesday protesting a pipeline slated to course through her family’s wooded property. Gerhart, 29, of Huntingdon, and about 20 protesters coalesced around the Gerhart property as a work crew—chaperoned by local sheriff’s officers—took down trees along the property. 

Landowners Brace For Tree Cutting Along Pipeline Route

Mar 29, 2016
Susan Phillips / StateImpact Pennsylvania

A Huntingdon County family has lost their battle to put off tree-clearing for Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipeline while their case is still on appeal. Huntingdon County Common Pleas Judge George Zanic has ordered Ellen Gerhart to allow tree clearing on about three acres of her property to make way for two 24-inch natural gas liquids pipelines that will carry ethane, propane and butane from the Marcellus Shale fields in Ohio and Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook, Delaware County.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

More than 30 groups representing consumer advocates and environmental organizations have filed a petition asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to create an office of public participation.  In 1978 Congress directed FERC to create the office, but it never happened.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

An eight-member federal jury found Cabot Oil and Gas negligent and ordered the driller to pay a total of $4.24 million to two Dimock families for polluting their well water starting back in 2008. The company says it will appeal the decision.

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