natural gas

Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Seeking an end to the state’s three month-old budget stalemate, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf sent the GOP-controlled legislature a revised tax plan that lowers his ‘ask’ on a severance tax for the natural gas industry. But his political rivals say it’ll cost the industry just as much as his old plan, if not more.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

The U.S. has negotiated a trade deal with 11 countries that has environmentalists worried about more liquefied natural gas exports. The Trans-Pacific Partnership looks to remove trade barriers with Asia. And Asia, specifically Japan, is eager for more natural gas from the United States.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

It’s something Tim Kelsey has heard from people in Pennsylvania’s gas fields since the beginning of the Marcellus Shale boom.

John Ulrich / WITF

  Environmentalists on Tuesday called on Pennsylvania to act to reduce methane emissions from existing natural gas infrastructure and build on proposed federal standards that would cut emissions of the gas from new and modified plants. Natural gas companies say they already have made strides to cut the emissions and called the new federal proposal unnecessary. READ MORE...

PNI / flickr

Federal regulators held a public hearing last night on a proposed natural gas pipeline that would run through several upstate New York counties. Energy company Kinder Morgan wants to build the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline to funnel gas from Pennsylvania to the East Coast.

There are four compressor stations proposed for New York State along the pipeline route.

Greg Goebel / Flickr

Ithaca-area Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton is calling for the closure of New York’s coal-fired power plants, including one in her own district. Lifton wrote a recent letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo calling for the closures. The letter was co-signed by 70 legislators.

WabbyTwaxx / Flickr

As Republican legislative leaders and the natural gas industry unite to beat back Gov. Tom Wolf’s severance tax proposal, here’s something lawmakers in Harrisburg are not talking about: Companies building new pipelines to grow markets for Pennsylvania’s natural gas don’t have to pay local property taxes on those lines to counties, towns and school districts.

Gerry Dincher / Flickr

Governor Wolf made taxing the natural gas industry the centerpiece of his campaign, and if he gets his way, he could move Pennsylvania from having one of the lowest effective gas tax rates in the country to one of the highest.

Katie Colaneri / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection is fining a subsidiary of the energy giant Chevron about $1 million.

The fine is for violations relating to a fatal explosion at a natural gas well site early last year.

LNG Plant Planned For Northeast PA

May 18, 2015
Russell Neches / Flickr

UGI Energy Services is planning to build a $60 million natural gas plant in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The Wyoming County plant would take gas from the Marcellus Shale  and cool it down into a liquid known as LNG.

Read more here.

Katie Colaneri / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Several feet below some of Rob Fulper's fields are two pipelines. They were laid during World War II to move crude oil from the Gulf Coast up to the Northeast, decades before these tracts were preserved.

Today, these pipelines move natural gas.

In the summer, when the weather is hot and dry, Fulper said he can see the results of the extra heat the pipelines throw off.

To read more about Fulper and the proposed PennEast pipeline, click here.

project_manager / Flickr

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - A federal judge says backers of a 124-mile pipeline designed to ferry cheap Marcellus Shale natural gas to New York can build across seven northeastern Pennsylvania properties whose owners had not agreed to it.
 
U.S. District Judge Malachy Mannion ruled Tuesday that the Constitution Pipeline had the necessary permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and that it serves the public interest.
 

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s pick to head the state Department of Environmental Protection spent much of Wednesday afternoon defending the new administration’s proposed gas drilling policies at a House budget hearing in Harrisburg.

ShashiBellamkonda / Flickr

AUBURN, N.Y. (AP) - Utility crews have found the source of a gas leak that caused an explosion in downtown Auburn and are making repairs.
 
New York State Gas and Electric spokesman Clayton Ellis tells the Auburn Citizen that crews have been venting natural gas from the location and plan to finish repairs on Monday.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

The future of the Cayuga coal-fired power plant in Tompkins County remains up-in-the-air, almost three years after plans to close the plant were announced.

The local utility, NYSEG, opposes a proposed conversion to natural gas and wants to invest in their transmission system instead. Either way, the cost will be added to ratepayers’ bills.

Nicholas_T / flickr

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Tom Wolf is poised to sign an executive order restoring a moratorium on new natural-gas drilling leases on Pennsylvania's state parks and forests.
 
Wolf's office says he'll sign the order Thursday at Benjamin Rush State Park in Philadelphia.
 
It will supersede an order former Gov. Tom Corbett signed in May and restore the ban on new drilling leases that former Gov. Ed Rendell implemented in 2010.
 

Matt Richmond / WSKGNews

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania state environmental regulators have released a study on radiation levels in oil and gas industry wastewater and byproducts that they say shows little potential for radiation exposure to workers and the public, but recommends follow-up study.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Much of Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale drilling takes place in rural areas. Over the years, gas companies and farmers have had to learn how to co-exist. Sometimes those relationships are positive. Other times, they can be rocky.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

State officials have decided to ban hydrofracking within New York, but battles continue over the infrastructure projects that support the natural gas industry. One such project is the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline, which would carry natural gas from Pennsylvania to lines in New York state that run on to northeastern cities.

The project was first proposed in 2012. Federal regulators approved it in December. It would start in Susquehanna County and pass through parts of Broome, Chenango, Delaware and Schoharie Counties in New York.

The project has seen intense opposition since it began, with the group organized against it encouraging landowners along the route to refuse access to their land. New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation is now conducting its own review.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

Pennsylvania is littered with old oil and gas wells that date back to the 1860’s. Unmapped and unmonitored, these wells can turn into pollution pathways for oil, gas and brine. About 12,000 of an estimated 300,000 wells have been found and plugged. But the peer reviewed report out this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows even the plugged wells are leaking methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Julie Grant / The Allegheny Front

On the first cold day this season Fred White is turning on the heat. He could fire up the gas but today he’s using his wood furnace. He pours in a bag of wood pellets.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

Marcellus Shale drilling companies have agreed to pay millions of dollars in back pay to workers, following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Labor Department found significant violations, mostly related to overtime pay.

More than 160 companies were involved, from major drillers to smaller support service vendors. Alfonso Gristina oversaw the investigation, and says the companies have agreed to pay nearly $4.5 million dollars in back wages.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has awarded a 150-thousand dollar grant to a natural gas industry group to study the effects of drilling. The money was put into last year's state budget for independent research.
 
The grant recipient is a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit partnership between industry and academia called the Shale Alliance for Energy Research, also known as SAFER PA. Its board has three representatives from Pennsylvania universities and five members from the oil and gas industry.

DEP awarded the grant on a non-competitive basis—meaning it didn’t shop around for other proposals. Barry Kauffman finds the deal concerning.

Severance Tax In PA's Environmental Future

Dec 8, 2014
Jennifer Szweda Jordan / The Allegheny Front

This week, Governor-Elect Tom Wolf took questions on the state's budget crisis. The Allegheny Front also asked Wolf about his proposal to create a severance tax on well drilling.

Inside the Capitol, packs of children and tourists traipse through the building snapping selfies with the big state Christmas tree. But elsewhere, in and around Harrisburg, state government’s preparing for another bearded man to arrive after Santa.

A half-hour away in the tony suburb of York, Wolf's hometown, the conversation got a little Scroogish.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The developer of a $750 million natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania into New York is threatening to seize land from reluctant landowners through eminent domain.

A letter obtained by the Albany Times Union tells landowners who have refused to sell rights-of-way for the Constitution Pipeline that they have until Wednesday to accept offered prices. After that, developers will take them to court to force such sales for possibly less money.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Federal energy regulators have approved a $700 million pipeline project designed to ferry cheap Marcellus Shale natural gas from Pennsylvania into high-priced markets in New England and New York.
 
The project's backers said Wednesday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's approval means the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline could be operational by next winter.

Karen DeWitt / WSKG News

Opponents of hydrofracking say they want Gov. Cuomo to declare a moratorium on fracking in New York. The gas drilling process has been on hold for several years and activists are focusing on Cuomo because of the state’s divided legislature.
 
A coalition of groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, say Cuomo should immediately issue an executive order postponing any gas drilling in New York for the next three to five years. NRDC’s Kate Sinding says that’s preferable to trying to get a bill passed through a divided state legislature, where the Senate will be controlled by the Republicans in January.
 
“The legislative process is messy and unpredictable,” said Sinding. “We would prefer to have him take that action and, frankly, own it.”

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's Democratic Gov.-elect Tom Wolf will be at the White House to meet with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
 
The White House says Friday's meeting will be with five other governors-elect from around the country. Wolf is the only Democrat among them.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

The company that operates the Chemung County landfill wants to expand its capacity by 230 thousand tons per year. Members of the county legislature will review the proposed expansion one last time tonight, before sending it on to the state for final approval.

Scrutiny of the landfill is usually high because it receives drilling waste from Pennsylvania.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

Janet Geiger and her husband Richard are retirees living in a small Sears Roebuck home in Bradford County—it’s a rural area along Pennsylvania’s northern border. Before the Geigers ever heard of the Marcellus Shale, they leased the mineral rights under their 10 acres, and never thought much would come of it.

That’s proven to be true.

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