natural gas

SCOTT DETROW, StateImpact Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has hundreds of underground natural gas storage sites that are vulnerable to methane leaks because they were built at least 60 years ago, and were probably never designed to store gas, according to a Harvard University study released on Tuesday. 

COURTESY OF FRACTRACKER ALLIANCE

Pennsylvania’s shale gas drillers continued to break records for production in 2016, tapping about 5.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. 

MIDDLETOWN COALITION FOR COMMUNITY SAFETY

Pipeline construction of Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 has caused three separate releases of drilling mud in May, with two incidents resulting in a combined total of 575 gallons of bentonite clay entering Chester Creek in Brookhaven, Delaware County, according to Sunoco Pipeline spokesman Jeff Shields. Bentonite is a non-toxic substance commonly used as a lubricant in horizontal directional drilling. 

PJM

A rush to build power plants fueled by cheap natural gas from the Marcellus Shale will swell power supply in the region coordinated by PJM Interconnection, operator of the largest power grid in North America, driving down prices and forcing the closure of many coal-fired plants over the next four years, according to a new analysis by Moody’s Investors Service. 

MARIE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA

President Donald Trump has nominated Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner Rob Powelson to fill a vacancy on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which oversees interstate pipeline projects. Powelson, who also serves as the president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, recently compared anti-pipeline activists to jihadists, a statement he later walked back

Susan Phillips, StateImpact Pennsylvania

Although anti-pipeline activists decry the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the agency that never met a pipeline project it wouldn’t approve, the natural gas industry says the regulatory process led by FERC is facing longer delays. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce heard testimony Wednesday about a proposal to speed-up that process, which currently involves a mix of federal and state permit approvals. 

Emily Cohen, State Impact Pennsylvania

The latest local effort to block the Mariner East 2 pipeline failed late Monday when a zoning panel in Delaware County denied an appeal against three permits that have allowed its construction. Thornbury Township’s Zoning Hearing Board turned down a request by a local homeowners association to withdraw the permits to install a fence, a utility pole and automated pipeline equipment. 

Reid Frazier, The Allegheny Front

The embattled PennEast natural gas pipeline suffered another blow on Wednesday when New Jersey officials rejected the company’s application for a freshwater wetlands permit, saying its application lacked a long list of information. 

Northeast Needs More Gas Pipelines, Says New Report

Apr 26, 2017
Michael Dwyer/AP Photo

A new report out this week from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce argues the northeastern United States needs more natural gas pipelines. If no new pipelines were built, it could cost the region over 78,000 jobs and $7.6 billion in GDP by the year 2020, the report finds. It is the fifth in a series of reports from the Chamber of Commerce, examining potential impacts of energy policies. 

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

Fracking the Marcellus Shale did not pollute groundwater in northwestern West Virginia, but wastewater spills did contaminate surface water, according to a new study from Duke University. The report adds to an increasing body of work pointing to greater risks from fracking wastewater transport and treatment, than from the process itself. 

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