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Drilling affects Pennsylvania forests



Published: Thu, May 1, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Drilling affects Pennsylvania forests

PITTSBURGH

A new report is providing details about how the shale gas-drilling boom is affecting Pennsylvania state forests.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources issued the 268-page report last month. It found that “shale-gas production on state forest lands is neither benign nor catastrophic” and that there are clearly impacts and trade-offs.

The Shale Gas Monitoring report found that about 1,486 acres of forest have been converted to various types of drilling- related development since 2008, out of about 2.2 million acres in the state forest system. That figure doesn’t include indirect impacts.

The environmental group PennFuture says it remains opposed to more gas-drilling leases in state parks and forests.

DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti said the drilling “is being carefully managed.”

Maryland considers public disclosure of gas-drilling chemicals

OAKLAND, Md.

An advisory panel is considering a state proposal that would require companies to publicly disclose the chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

The proposal is up for discussion at a meeting in Oakland of the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission. The panel is developing recommendations for state regulation of natural-gas drilling in western Maryland.

A 2012 congressional research report says 15 states have laws requiring some disclosure of the chemicals that are added to fluid that is pumped underground to fracture rock formations and release gas and oil.

Florida agency won’t rescind drilling permit

NAPLES, Fla.

Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection has told a judge that it will not rescind a permit for a Texas company that wants to drill an exploratory oil well in southwest Florida.

The agency decided against following the recommendation of an advisory committee charged with providing advice and ensuring compliance for drilling in the Big Cypress Swamp area.

Assistant Deputy Counsel Jeffrey Brown wrote in an agency’s court filing that the “committee’s observations are generally beyond the department’s purview in its consideration of the pending application.”

Local residents say drilling threatens aquifers and habitat vital to the endangered Florida panther.

Pickens teams up with Wyoming family firm

CASPER, Wyo.

Hoping to become the largest maker of natural-gas engines for drilling rigs, T. Boone Pickens is teaming up with a family-run Wyoming business.

The Texas oil tycoon’s energy hedge fund, BP Capital, is partnering with Casper-based Moser Energy Systems to create a new company — Mesa Natural Gas Solutions. Moser will continue making the engines, and Pickens’ fund will promote them. Pickens joined Moser executives in announcing the joint venture last month at its new building in Evansville, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.

Moser’s engines convert raw natural gas from oil-drilling sites into fuel for the engines, eliminating the need to haul diesel to remote sites that don’t have electricity.

Frack-waste ban progresses through Conn. legislature

HARTFORD, Conn.

A bill that would ban the storage or disposal of waste from fracking in Connecticut is moving through the General Assembly.

On a 34-6 vote, the legislature’s Judiciary Committee approved the proposed ban on drilling fluid and other waste generated as a byproduct of gas exploration. It now moves to the Senate for further action.

Some lawmakers who opposed the legislation said they prefer another bill that would create a temporary moratorium, giving the state time to adopt regulations to control the materials as a hazardous waste.

Republican Rep. Cecilia Buck-Taylor said that bill would allow Connecticut scientists to use small amounts of fracking waste in their research, determining whether it can be safely disposed.


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