natural gas

futureshape / flickr

On the morning of April 29, a natural gas transmission line exploded in a field in Salem Township in western Pennsylvania. The blast was so powerful it ripped a 12-foot crater into the landscape, burned a section of the field with a quarter-mile radius and threw a 25-foot section of the 30-inch steel pipeline 100 feet away.

What's Next For Oil Pipeline Under Great Lakes?

Jul 25, 2016

(WBFO) It’s known as Line 5 and it carries about 20 million gallons of oil and natural gas liquids. But because it’s 63-years-old, environmental activists say the line is past its useful life and poses a threat to the lakes. 


A plan to build the controversial PennEast natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to New Jersey took a step forward on Friday when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said the project’s environmental impacts could be reduced to “less than significant levels” if it adopts certain mitigation measures.


Federal regulators are requiring a natural gas pipeline company to conduct more testing and take corrective actions on three nearby lines, following an April 29 explosion in Westmoreland County that sent a man to the hospital with severe burns.

PA Regulators Unveil Updated Oil And Gas Map

Jul 20, 2016
John Ulrich / WITF

The state Department of Environmental Protection has unveiled an updated version of its interactive mapping tool for Pennsylvania’s oil and gas wells. “Making such data available and easy to use promotes transparency and allows the public to generate the information they want on demand,” said DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell in a statement.


A company constructing a pipeline system in Butler County to connect gas wells to a processing plant will pay $1.5 million for causing a landslide into a stream, and discharging sediment in to a wetland. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says Stonehenge Appalachia has entered a consent order with the agency and agreed to pay the fine. 

Compressor Stations Open New Front In Fracking Debate

Jul 18, 2016
Joanna Richards

Back in February, 300 people crowded into a school gym in Medina County, Ohio, to lob questions, concerns—and some unvarnished anger—at state environmental regulators. At issue was the siting of a new natural gas compressor station along the planned NEXUS pipeline—a 250-mile transmission line being built to carry gas from Ohio to Chicago,  southeast Michigan and Ontario.

Report: Gas Impact Fee Revenue Will Keep Declining

Jul 15, 2016
Susan Phillips, StateImpact Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania will continue to see less money from natural gas drilling, according to a new analysis from the state’s Independent Fiscal Office. This year the drilling impact fees brought in $187.7 million– the lowest amount ever. The IFO projects revenue will continue to decline next year, potentially setting a new record low. 

Susan Phillips, StateImpact Pennsylvania

A state appeals court dealt a blow to property owners fighting eminent domain takings by Sunoco Logistics on Thursday. Commonwealth Court ruled that in the case of the Mariner East 2 pipeline, Sunoco is a public utility subject to regulation by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, which it says granted the company a certificate of public convenience that extends to all 17 counties along the hotly contested pipeline’s path. 

The Hunt For Methane Leaks Goes High Tech

Jul 11, 2016
Photo: Reid Frazier

Up a bumpy road in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania, a team of researchers park their van, turn on a half-million dollars of equipment, and start another round of trying to solve a climate riddle. They are in rural Susquehanna County looking for methane—the powerful greenhouse gas and the main component of natural gas.


A renewed fight over whether to allow natural gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin intensified when a leading environmental group joined a lawsuit defending a de facto moratorium on gas development in the region.

EPA Raises Concerns About Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline

Jul 8, 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency is raising concerns about the potential impacts of the proposed Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline. In a letter sent last week to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) the EPA criticizes FERC’s draft environmental impact statement, which found the pipeline would not create significant adverse impacts.

PA Explosion Heats Up Concerns Over Gas Pipelines

Jul 7, 2016
Reid Frazier, The Allegheny Front

A tornado, a giant storm, an airplane crashing. That’s how neighbors describe the sound of the explosion that took place at 8:13 a.m. on April 29, in a field in Salem Township, Pennsylvania, about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh. 


The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is not required to examine the upstream impacts of natural gas development when reviewing the environmental impacts of new liquefied natural gas export facilities under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Bill Would Limit PA’s Ability To Regulate Methane

Jul 5, 2016
Joe Ulrich, WITF

A bill recently proposed in the state Senate seeks to limit the Wolf administration’s efforts to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. Methane is the main component of natural gas; it’s a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global climate change.


A Pennsylvania House committee on Wednesday approved an amendment that would exempt conventional oil and gas activities from proposed regulations. The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee easily passed the amendment to SB 279, which creates a council to advise the Department of Environmental Protection on regulation to distinguish between conventional and unconventional oil and gas development. 

Shell Announces Plans To Build Ethane Cracker In PA

Jun 8, 2016

Shell Chemical announced Tuesday it’s moving ahead with plans to build a multi-billion-dollar ethane cracker in western Pennsylvania. The announcement caps years of anticipation that the Dutch-based conglomerate would build a petrochemical plant near Pittsburgh that would convert natural gas from the region’s gas fields into the building blocks of plastics.


An environmental group is challenging a zoning ordinance that allows gas drilling throughout a southwest Pennsylvania township, arguing that the measure is unconstitutional, and violates a state Supreme Court ruling that struck down part of the state’s controversial Act 13 oil and gas law. 

A federal public health report on Dimock’s much-publicized water woes found threatening levels of chemicals in 27 private water wells, and explosive levels of methane in 17 private water wells during a six-month period in 2012. The results were based on samples taken four years ago, while a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the area was in place. 


A new lawsuit seeks to jump start natural gas drilling in Northeast Pennsylvania along the Delaware River where a defacto moratorium on Marcellus Shale gas production has been in place for six years. The federal suit filed by the Wayne Land and Mineral Group challenges the authority of the Delaware River Basin Commission to regulate natural gas drilling. 


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is the target of a week-long series of protests by pipeline opponents who say the agency is a “rubber stamp” for industry. Seven people were arrested blocking the driveway entrance to the agency on Monday, while others plan to picket the homes of FERC commissioners, and disrupt the agency’s monthly meeting on Thursday.

Mike Groll / AP Photo


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Constitution Pipeline Company has appealed New York's denial of a critical permit and asked a federal court to take away the state's permitting authority for the project. 

Joe Ulrich, WITF

The Environmental Protection Agency announced the first-ever federal standardsThursday aimed at curbing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. It’s part of the Obama administration’s broader plan to combat climate change.




(WRVO) The dispute over whether an energy company should be storing natural gas in salt caverns underneath Seneca Lake reaches a milestone this week.

Reid Frazier, The Allegheny Front

More than 200 residents packed a Western Pa. church Wednesday night to hear from the company that owns a pipeline that exploded last month. The crowd, at times edgy, posed questions about the explosion and pipeline safety to four Spectra Energy officials over a period of two hours.


The Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project won preliminary approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday, paving the way for the $3 billion expansion of the Transco system to move forward as environmentalists simultaneously filed a federal lawsuit objecting to the pipeline.

A 15-mile long section of Spectra Energy’s Texas Eastern Transmission line, which exploded last week in Salem Township, Westmoreland County, will remain shut down until the company takes a number of corrective actions.

PA House Panel Votes To Block Drilling Regulations

May 4, 2016
Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania


For the second time in less than a month, a House committee has voted to block tougher regulations aimed at Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry. It’s the latest move in the ongoing battle over the rules between the Republican-led legislature and Governor Tom Wolf’s Democratic administration. 


A 26-year-old man who was badly burned in a natural gas pipeline explosion last week has been upgraded from critical to fair condition at UPMC Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

A man has been taken to the hospital with serious burns after a 36-inch interstate natural gas transmission pipeline exploded next to his home in Westmoreland County. About a dozen homes have been evacuated.