The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) unveiled a new website today designed to give a better picture of state-by-state energy trends and data.
The site features interactive maps where users can zoom in and see different features related to energy production. For example, users can pull up a map layer that just shows Pennsylvania’s natural gas shale play.
“We had the data on our site in various sources, but it was frankly hard to get to,” says Mark Elbert EIA’s Director of Web Management, “This makes it much more accessible.”
When you drive north on route 29 in Susquehanna County, just before you hit the traffic light in downtown Montrose, sits a restaurant that’s easy to miss. The Summerhouse Grill welcomes diners from the back door. Inside, it’s a surprisingly bustling and busy room. Everyone here seems to know one another. After all, only about 43,000 people live in Susquehanna County as a whole.
The benefits and disadvantages of gas drilling are widely debated. But one thing everyone agrees on, is that drilling has brought tension to small rural communities. Susquehanna County is home to Dimock, a town that has become synonymous with flaming taps and everything that could possibly go wrong when the gas drillers come to town. And where friendly neighbors no longer speak to one another. But in the center of Susquehanna County one woman tries to heal those divisions over a good plate of food.
The woman behind all of this is Kim Glemboski. She grew up with her artist parents on a small farm outside of town. Today, she’s neither a farmer, or the restaurant’s cook. Glemboski is actually an author and historian, and she’s steeped in knowledge about the area’s rich heritage.
“All of the different resource extractions that have happened here,” says Glemboski, “from tanning, from timbering, agriculture, coal mining, and this is just chapter 31, here we go again.” Continue Reading →
What’s it like to live with stray natural gas bubbling into your water well? Leighton gives StateImpact Pennsylvania a tour of some of the devices Chesapeake has installed in his house, to keep gas out and to clean his water:
In the far northern corner of Harrisburg’s Farm Show complex – past the food court, the tractor displays and the model cabins in the Exhibition Hall – there’s a row of energy displays.
The Marcellus Shale Coalition has a booth. So does America’s Natural Gas Alliance. Solar energy advocates are represented, along with realtors selling geothermal home heating units. I spotted a scaled model of a wind turbine, too.
Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences anchors “energy row,” with a large display showcasing alternate energy and fuel efforts being researched at the school. I visited the PSU for a story on the Farm Show’s butter sculpture, which will be converted into energy after the show ends. (Stay tuned – the butter story will be published tomorrow.)
During my visit, Daniel Ciolkosz directed me to a machine that was quietly chugging away in the corner, squeezing oil out of canola seeds.
With the bulk of the Dimock attention focused on Josh Fox, Mark Ruffalo and the other “fractivists,” it’s worth noting several counter-protestors held an event today, too.
Here’s video of a group calling itself “Enough Is Enough.” Their main point: outsiders are misrepresenting what has happened in the Susquehanna County community.
“Enough Is Enough” spokesman Bill Aileo put out this statement:
“We are proud to live in Dimock. While the anti-gas minority has torn
apart our community, tarnishing its reputation and beauty, and making
our home sound like a waste land, we know what is true. Our water is
clean and our community is ready to get back on its feet, back to the
facts, and back to production. As tests from the Pennsylvania
Department of Environmental Protection have shown time and again,
which was confirmed again last week, our water is safe.”
Correction: The corrected Department of Revenue figure referred to taxes land owners pay on drilling-related profits, not the amount of money energy companies pay in corporate taxes.
At a Capitol forum sponsored by the natural gas drilling industry, Pennsylvania’s Labor and Industry Secretary, Julia Hearthway, played the role of Marcellus Shale cheerleader.
Pointing to what she called a “tsunami” of job growth within the drilling industry, she said Pennsylvania is “blessed” to host drillers. Hearthway says she’s “completely focused” on growing drilling within the Marcellus Shale formation, which stretches from northeastern to southwestern Pennsylvania.
Ask a Bradford or Tioga County resident what his biggest gripe with natural gas drilling is, and he’ll likely tell you traffic.
Two-lane highways are clogged with heavy trucks hauling water, sand, equipment and gravel. People regularly build up to an hour of additional travel time into their schedule, to compensate for time spent behind trucks.
If you haven’t seen the traffic before, here’s what it looks like. I shot this video while stuck behind two slow trucks, on my way up to Canton, Bradford County yesterday.
While reporting the story “Pipeline Protest: The New Battleground for Drilling Opponents,” WHYY videographer Kim Paynter travelled with me to catch shots of shale country, and talk to residents of northeast Pennsylvania. Kim shot and produced this video of residents discuss drilling impacts, the Marc 1 Hub pipeline, and the benefits of good jobs that have come to the area.
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