May 14, 2010 |
On the heels of penalizing one natural gas operator $240,000 for contaminating water wells, Pennsylvania's top environmental official Thursday urged the industry to immediately adopt proposed new drilling standards rather than waiting for them to be formally enacted. John Hanger, secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, summoned industry representatives to Harrisburg to discuss new construction standards for wells drilled to tap natural gas reserves. The new guidelines are designed to reduce the chance of incidents such as the one that has contaminated 14 water wells in the Susquehanna County town of Dimock.
April 28, 2010 |
The exploitation of natural resources often spawns two camps, the industrialists and the environmentalists, each of which engages in disingenuous arguments - the bigger the resource, the more disingenuous the arguments. The debate over extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale has followed that pattern. A pocket of gas may have exploded within 1,300 feet of a Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. well near Dimock, Pa., on Jan. 1, 2009. In a recent Associated Press story about a state shutdown of Cabot's drilling near Dimock, a company spokesman said, "It just isn't scientifically fair to say in any short period of time that Cabot's activities did or did not cause the methane in the groundwater.
April 16, 2010 |
Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection fined a Marcellus Shale operator $240,000 Thursday, ordered it to plug three gas wells, and banned it from drilling for one year in a Susquehanna County community that has been plagued with contaminated water wells. DEP Secretary John Hanger said Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. of Houston had failed to correct problems that caused gas to migrate to 14 residential water wells in Dimock Township. One water well exploded last year, an incident often cited by activists who are seeking a moratorium on drilling.
March 19, 2010 |
The EPA launched yesterday a two-year, $1.9 million study to determine whether hydraulic fracturing, the oil- and gas-production technique used in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region, is a danger to groundwater supplies. "The study will be conducted through a transparent, peer-reviewed process, with significant stakeholder input," said Paul T. Anastas of the EPA's Office of Research and Development. The process, called "fracking," involves injecting water and chemicals into wells under high pressure to break up the source rock to unlock oil and natural gas. Along with horizontal-drilling technology, it has transformed formerly uneconomical drilling sites into lucrative ones.
December 13, 2009 |
When Norma Fiorentino's relatives used to visit her house, they often filled a few jugs of clean country water from her well before returning to town. "We had the best water here," said Fiorentino, 67. That was before Marcellus Shale gas drilling came to Dimock. At first, Fiorentino said her water got a little cloudy. Then her well blew up on New Year's Day. The blast shattered the well's heavy concrete cover and scattered it on her front yard. "We don't drink the water anymore," she said.
July 26, 2008 |
A new era of energy production began in northeastern Pennsylvania this week, when Cabot Oil & Gas Co. started selling natural gas from a Susquehanna County well drilled into a layer of rock known as the Marcellus shale. The natural-gas industry has huge expectations for the Marcellus shale, a 365 million-year-old layer of rock that stretches from New York through West Virginia. It is especially promising in northeastern Pennsylvania, according to some analysts. "This is a nice milestone to achieve being the first to have Marcellus production in northeast" Pennsylvania, Cabot's chairman and chief executive officer, Dan Dinges, said yesterday in a conference call on the Houston company's second-quarter earnings.