According to the Post-Gazette, this is the second year in a row the company has kept its doors closed to the media:
The practice is not illegal, but “it’s not appropriate,” said Lev Janashvili, managing director at GMI Ratings, a corporate governance research firm in New York. “What does that decision reveal and suggest about the quality of leadership at the company?”
Shareholder meetings in Pittsburgh and across the country have taken on a charged tenor since the recession compelled many investors to raise questions about executive pay and corporate governance.
The west branch of the Susquehanna River in Clinton County.
When it comes to Marcellus Shale Gas development, the differences between the Delaware River Basin Commission and its central Pennsylvania counterpart, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, are stark. The DRBC has been the force behind a drilling moratorium in Northeast Pennsylvania and southern New York. But the Susquehanna River Basin Commission has not weighed in on shale gas regulations, aside from monitoring water withdrawals.
For the past several years, environmentalists have put heavy pressure on the SRBC to change that. They argue that, like the DRBC, the SRBC should view its role as protecting water quality as well as quantity. These groups want the SRBC to do a cumulative environmental analysis of the impact of shale gas development on the river basin.
The Associated Press reports on an effort by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R -Jefferson) to create a 13-member advisory panel to examine the health impacts of natural gas drilling.
According to the AP, the bill is in committee, and its future is uncertain:
Patrick Henderson, Gov. Tom Corbett’s energy executive, wrote in an email that the administration looks forward to working with Scarnati on the legislation, and shares “his interest in ensuring that drilling activities are conducted in a manner that protects public health.”
Scarnati said that comment is open to interpretation.
“I don’t think that they have signaled clear support at this time,” he said of Corbett’s administration, adding that it wants to make sure the legislation is “done right.”
A natural gas well in a rural field near Canton in Bradford County.
Ever have trouble filling out your income tax forms? Apparently, some of Pennsylvania’s local governments also had a hard time with the paperwork related to how they spent the shale gas impact fee money given to them in 2012.
The one-page form was due to the state by tax day –April 15. But three weeks later, millions remain unaccounted for.
The sun sets behind a coal power plant in Germany.
The boom in production of oil and gas has lead to a decline in the nation’s coal industry, according to Bloomberg:
Pain is being felt from Appalachia to Wyoming as the U.S. reduces its dependence on coal to almost the lowest level in 63 years — the cost of the country becoming more energy self- sufficient through the production of more natural gas and oil.
Prices have retreated 57 percent from a record in June 2008 as coal’s share of U.S. electricity generation sank to a record low of 37 percent last year from 50 percent in 2005. Its future looks even bleaker after President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address that fighting climate change would be a second-term priority.
A liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage tank at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Futtsu Thermal Power Station, east of Tokyo. Japan has had to increase its imports of LNG since the Fukushima disaster reduced its supply of nuclear energy.
The Financial Times reports that President Obama may be ready to support more exports of liquefied natural gas, after the President was quoted this weekend saying the U.S. may be a net exporter of natural gas by 2020. The push for exports comes from the natural gas industry, which has experienced a boom in shale gas production that has pushed down prices nationwide while prices overseas remain high.
The Department of Energy is considering new applications for LNG export terminals. One of those proposals would be in Cove Point, Maryland, a facility owned by Dominion Resources along the Chesapeake Bay. It’s the closest proposal to Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale. A coalition of environmental groups has filed public comments against the plan. The Sierra Club, along with a number of local groups have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement on the project.
“The communities that surround the Chesapeake depend on the Bay and its rivers for our food, livelihood and way of life,” said Robin Broder, Vice President of Potomac Riverkeeper in a release. “It’s unthinkable that federal officials would rubber stamp this project without a careful look at how our Bay and upstream communities and natural resources will be affected by increased fracking for natural gas.” Continue Reading →
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports EQT Corp. has announced it’s spending $113 million to buy approximately 99,000 acres of land holdings in southwestern Pennsylvania from the state’s top gas driller, Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy.
From the Post-Gazette:
The acreage includes 67,000 Marcellus acres and 32,000 Utica Shale acres. Of the total purchase price, $60 million is for the undeveloped acreage and $53 million is for the Marcellus wells, EQT said.
The acquisition, which is expected to be completed May 30, includes some 25,000 acres within EQT’s core Marcellus development areas of Allegheny, Washington and Greene counties. The company anticipates drilling four wells on the newly acquired land late this year.
In the span of two months the same gas drilling company, Carizzo Marcellus, has had two accidents in Wyoming County and spilled thousands of gallons of fracking fluid.
After the first accident on March 13 released more than a quarter million gallons of fluids and forced the evacuation of three homes, the state Department of Environmental Protection asked the company to halt all operations within the state.
While still heading the Department of Environmental Protection, Michael Krancer helped promote the economic benefits of Marcellus Shale development. Here he is in front of the Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook, Delaware County last August. He now works for the industry as an attorney for Blank Rome in Philadelphia.
Under former Secretary Michael Krancer, the Department of Environmental Protection was not always the easiest place to get information about Marcellus Shale gas drilling.
But it looks like Krancer is eager to talk about natural gas drilling now that he’s switched to the private sector.
Under Krancer, right-to-know requests for inspectors’ notes about drilling-related water complaints were denied. Requests to speak directly to DEP field officers were denied because “they were too busy” to talk. Calling to DEP staffers at home for interviews was decried as “unacceptable” and “unprofessional” behavior.
Sometimes days would pass before requests for comments or information about drilling-related spills and accidents got answered by DEP.
One memorable example was a June 19 incident in Tioga County about 35 miles from Williamsport. After an anonymous tipster reported a well leak, DEP at first could provide no information in response to StateImpact’s inquiries.
Scott Detrow, then a StateImpact reporter, hustled to the scene and found a 30-foot geyser of gas and water that had been spraying out of the ground for more than a week in Union Township, Tioga County. In fact, Shell, the company drilling nearby that caused the blow-out, had temporarily evacuated nearby residents. Here’s more from Scott’s report: Continue Reading →
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