Athens city council opposes injection well
The city council here is the second public body to oppose a proposed shale gas-drilling injection well in the region.
Citing public health concerns, Athens City Council voted to support the Athens County Commission’s objection to the proposed well for hydraulic fracturing — also known as fracking — in Troy Township, southeast of the city.
The Athens Messenger reports that county commissioners sent a letter in September to the state asking for a public hearing on the application by K&H Partners. The letter called it a “highly deficient application that will not prevent pollution of land, surface water and drinking-water sources.”
The city council voted unanimously to support the commissioners’ objection.
The state says there is no evidence the proposed well would be unsafe.
Groups protest proposed regulations
Environmental groups delivered thousands of comments critical of New York’s proposed liquefied-natural-gas regulations and demanded the state withdraw the proposals and start over.
The regulations would allow LNG fueling and storage facilities in New York for the first time since 1973, when the state imposed a moratorium after an LNG facility explosion on Staten Island that killed 40 workers.
New Yorkers Against Fracking, Sierra Club and other organizations were in Albany to deliver what they said were more than 50,000 comments on the regulations. They also delivered a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo asking that the regulations be withdrawn.
The Department of Environmental Conservation says the main reason for the new rules is to allow fueling stations.
But the environmental groups say they pave the way for much larger facilities and lack sufficient safety protections. They say the regulations also would allow the oil and gas industry to set in place the infrastructure needed if Cuomo allows high-volume hydraulic fracturing, which has been banned since an environmental review began in 2008.
Alpha Natural to sell interest in joint venture
Alpha Natural Resources Inc. has agreed to sell its 50 percent interest in its Alpha Shale Resources Joint Venture with Rice Energy for $300 million in cash and stock, the company announced recently.
Alpha and Rice entered into the 50-50 joint venture in 2010 to develop a portion of Alpha’s Marcellus shale natural-gas holdings in Green County, Pa.
In return for its stake, Alpha will receive $100 million in cash and an additional $200 million in Rice Energy common stock when the company closes its initial public offering.
Kevin Crutchfield, Alpha’s chairman and CEO, said the transaction provides an excellent return on investment and will add a significant amount of cash to the company’s balance sheet.
Industry group files suit over fracking bans
FORT COLLINS, Colo.
Colorado’s largest oil and gas industry group has filed a lawsuit against two Front Range towns that voted to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
The suit from the Colorado Oil & Gas Association against Fort Collins and Lafayette joins an earlier lawsuit against the town of Longmont. The latest suits were filed in Larimer and Boulder counties.
Voters in the three towns voted to ban fracking, something the industry says towns aren’t able to do.
The city of Fort Collins placed a five-year ban on all fracking within city limits. The city of Lafayette amended its home-rule charter to ban all oil and gas development.
A fracking ban vote in Broomfield is under a recount, with the results in legal dispute because of questions about voter eligibility.
Ohio Republicans unveil tax proposal
Nearly two years after Gov. John Kasich’s more-ambitious plan was declared dead on arrival in the Ohio General Assembly, House Republicans have unveiled an industry-backed plan to tax growing shale oil and gas drilling occurring largely in eastern Ohio.
But unlike Kasich’s plan, the new severance-tax rate would not translate into a penny-for-penny income-tax cut across the board for all Ohioans. The new proposal would pump excess revenue into income-tax cuts only after other obligations are met — the cost of regulating the industry, capping long-idle and orphaned wells, reclaiming land, helping to fund the Ohio Geological Survey, and new income and commercial activity tax breaks for well owners.
The Ohio Oil and Gas Association strongly opposed Kasich’s plan. This time, the industry is on board.