Billboards slam gas-drilling critics
A new series of billboards on the Pennsylvania Turnpike describes critics of natural-gas drilling as “Green Slime” who use “Lies” to discredit the industry.
The billboards and a related website don’t disclose who funded them, and several companies involved in the design process at first refused to identify their client. But after The Associated Press began making inquiries, the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association took credit.
The billboards and website didn’t break any laws, but some people inside and outside the industry stated transparency should be part of any debate over Marcellus Shale drilling.
First deep-shale well drilled in Pa. county
Gas wells are a familiar sight in the rolling farmland of southern Crawford County.
Bob O’Brien, an East Fairfield Township supervisor, can see a half-dozen of them from his kitchen window on Franklin Pike.
But the latest well isn’t like all the others. Until now, the Utica and Marcellus formations were largely untapped in the uppermost corner of northwestern Pennsylvania and a broad swath that included more than 20 counties in the southeastern part of the state.
That changed this summer, at least in Crawford County, when rigs and crews working for Texas-based Range Resources arrived in this rural township of about 850 people to start using hydraulic fracturing.
Fracking opponents to seek moratorium
Opponents of the natural-gas drilling technique known as fracking have launched a campaign for a moratorium on the practice in Maryland.
Delegate Heather Mizeur said opponents want to prevent fracking until the state finishes a comprehensive, science-based review on the dangers the process poses to drinking water and public health. She said only then the Maryland Legislature could vote on whether to allow fracking to proceed.
Drew Cobs, executive director of the Maryland Petroleum Council, said the group opposes the plan. He said a de facto moratorium already is in place in Maryland until 2014.
Fracking already has begun in states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, where some critics say it has contaminated water sources.
Team using biotech to purify wastewater
A University of Minnesota team has won a $600,000 federal grant to develop biotechnology for purifying wastewater from hydraulic fracturing.
The three scientists are using naturally occurring bacteria to break down contaminants in the wastewater, a technology they originally developed to remove agricultural pesticides from soil and water.
Their goal is to make the water suitable for re-use in hydraulic fracturing and significantly reduce the industry’s water consumption.
ND Sen. Hoeven filing bill on fracking
North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven said he will introduce a bill giving states primary control in regulating hydraulic fracturing.
Hoeven made the announcement after a tour of western North Dakota’s oil patch with Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Hoeven said the bill will help ensure that states keep the right to manage hydraulic fracturing, and it gives them the ability to respond first to any violation. The measure would impose restrictions on any federal agency seeking to regulate hydraulic fracturing.
Suit seeks drill data
An environmental group is going to court to force a look into whether the Gov. Andrew Cuomo administration is improperly withholding public records concerning natural-gas drilling.
The Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group sued Cuomo and the state Department of Environmental Conservation, claiming they failed to honor the state’s Freedom of Information Law by denying the public thousands of records sought by the group in March.