Sunday, June 10, 2012

PA Nat/Gas News: Re-cap 6-3-12 to 6-9-12

“PA Municipalities v Act 13 have their DAY IN COURT”
Yesterday, a coalition of seven PA municipalities, a physician and the Delaware Riverkeepers had their first day in court as they explained to a panel of seven Commonwealth Court judges why they believe PA's Act 13 should be declared illegal.
RDA member John Trallo of Sullivan County passes along the account from an anonymous source who was in the courtroom:

"DEP 'keeps you in dark' about spills, officials say: "...Gas drilling-related companies spilled oils, gases or chemicals about 134 times onto land and into water across Pennsylvania since Jan. 1, 2011, but the state rarely, if ever, notified the public. By law, it doesn't have to. Officials from a dozen Western Pennsylvania townships affected by the spills want such notification. State Department of Environmental Protection records obtained by the Tribune-Review show at least 27 spills from shale drilling in 19 townships in the agency's 10-county southwestern region during that time. Most officials the Trib contacted said they knew nothing about the incidents..." " (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) (Pennsylvania)-

“Drilling's ‘Best Practices’ Gone Bad in Leroy, PA”
I'm hearing that some scientific type folks descended upon Bradford County, Rte. 414 and the surrounding countryside yesterday. I'm hearing the super-high-tech methane detection devices that they brought along got a meter-pegging workout. And I'm also hearing the geology dude in the entourage was talking about a huge fracture zone that never should be drilled/fracked and something about "going nationwide" with what was happening to the people here.

“The Cabot Groundwater Methane Hoax” ...Cabot employees and their consultants go to great lengths to ignore the obvious – aging well bores are a proven source of ground water contamination. This is their paper, as it appeared in the Oil and Gas Journal (with commentary highlighted in yellow).
Note the following:
1. They use water tests that had been done before they drilled any shale gas wells – almost no tests done after drilling.
2. They blame thermogenic methane in groundwater entirely on naturally occurring faults
3. They fail to even mention the most common source of mobilized methane near gas wells – fugitive emissions from aging well bores.
“Industrial Activity/Building Including: Open Pit Flowback Impoundments, Compressor Stations, Well Pads in a Flood Zone”
This is where the municipality comes in. If that area is listed or shown in the flood insurance rate maps to be in a flood zone or especially the flow zone of the flood zone there are issues with the National Flood Insurance Program regulations. The DEP could get the municipality kicked out of the NFIP like Union Dale Borough in Susquehanna county was and still is since 2003.

Why is this important? After the NFIP all private insurance ended. So everyone that has a flood policy in that municipality would be endanger of loosing the NFIP policy either directly with the NFIP or through the write your own program of the NFIP. This program allows all approved companies to sell flood insurance, but just for processing claims and the paperwork. They get a % of the premium to do that and I think it is 8% and it is cheaper than the NFIP costs for the same items. The force placing of flood insurance can be done, but it would be at least 10 times more expensive.
Finding a private company that still sells flood insurance is very hard and I have to get a company not licensed in PA to place one since no private policy is approved other than NFIP policies in PA now, but again 10 times is the cost, or more.
There is an ordinance that has to be passed to enter the NFIP and if the DEP by issuing a permit that violates that ordinance, guess what. 1 to 10 days in jail and $100 to 1000 in fines some many be per day or just once. It depends on how the ordinance was written.
I was licensed as a Insurance Producer in 2004. (combined old agent and broker licenses)
Look at the FIRM for the area to see if it is in a defined flood zone and then the flow zone of the flood zone. Then Look at the ordinance for the municipality for joining the NFIP or look at the regulations for building in a flood zone to see if that is allowed. If it is a flow zone, notify the municipality, DEP that a possible violation of the NFIP regulations is about to occur that could remove the municipality from the NFIP. Then call agents in the area to inform them or talk to them, they are all trained in this or some had it long ago.
Bret Jennings
Councilor, Great Bend Borough
Director, Hallstead Great Bend Joint Sewer Authority.

FEMA’s response:

If a community does not enforce their flood related building codes and other NFIP related requirements, the community will be notified if the potential for probation and suspension from the NFIP, probably by their state floodplain office, and if they problems continue and are not corrected, the community does risk those penalties. As set forth in the federal regulations, the insurance availability is reliant upon the community’s adoption and enforcement of these flood related codes.
The community can work with their state and FEMA to return to the program, but the issues that they did not address that led to that suspension would need to be corrected. Some types of problems include: allowing building in the high risk area that do not meet elevation requirements; allowing elevated buildings to have enclosures in the area below the elevated part, or anything which affects the flow of flood waters; and the failure to adopt the required flood related building codes. If a community is suspended, the NFIP policies cannot be renewed by the agents that sell them.


International Agency Calls for Action on Natural Gas Safety

Published May 30, 2012
Forcing natural gas out of shale rock through hydraulic fracturing is riskier than conventional gas development and requires tougher rules than those now in place, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says

The IEA says such measures are entirely feasible, adding at most 7 percent to the costs of drilling. And the agency says they are necessary.

"There is a very real possibility that public opposition to drilling for shale gas and other types of unconventional gas will halt the unconventional gas revolution in its tracks," said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven in a statement.

"The industry must win public confidence by demonstrating exemplary performance."
Among the standards IEA advocates: Full, mandatory disclosure of "fracking" chemicals, "robust rules" on well construction and design to prevent groundwater pollution, and an aim for zero venting and minimal flaring of methane. Methane, the major component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas.
To prepare the report, the Paris-based agency obtained input from more than 50 industry experts, environmental groups and government agencies around the world.


"Federal agencies probe Range Resources' Yeager Marcellus Shale gas drilling site: "...Federal health and environmental agencies are investigating whether Range Resources Inc.'s Yeager Marcellus Shale gas drilling site in Washington County caused toxic air and groundwater pollution that damaged the health of nearby residents. The Atlanta-based Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said this week it has been working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since March 2011 to assess health problems reported by residents living in a valley below Range's wastewater pond and a drill cuttings pit at the Amwell Township site..." " (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) (Pennsylvania)- &


"Commissioners offer separate support in gas drilling lawsuit: "...As the Commonwealth Court concludes four days of arguments regarding certain aspects of the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act, local officials have offered support to the plaintiffs in the proceedings. Last week, Fayette County Commissioner Vincent Zapotosky issued a letter to Robinson Township Supervisor Chairman Brian Coppola who along with various other municipalities, agencies and physician mounted a challenge to a section of Act 13 – the state's oil and natural gas drilling law..." " (Herald Standard) (Pennsylvania)-

"Fox Twp. approves gas well sites, with stipulations: "...Recently the Fox Township Supervisors approved a request for a conditional-use permit for EOG Resources to install three additional gas wells in the BooneMountain area. The company's original request was to install a total of five new gas wells; however, two of the sites must be relocated in order to meet the township setback requirements. Their approval of the request included the stipulation that the Fox Twp. Zoning Enforcement Officer Robin Singer be permitted on the well sites to inspect them, without interference, to assure the sites are meeting all township zoning requirements..." " (The Daily Press) (Pennsylvania)-


"Subsidies may grow for Shell Oil: "...Taxpayers could be on the hook for cleaning up pollution at a zinc smelter site in Beaver County, increasing the public price tag if Shell Oil Co. buys the property for a new petrochemical plant. Shell, which would not have to pay property taxes for 15 years at the Horsehead Corp. site and could qualify for $1.7 billion in state credits, might have its environmental cleanup bills covered by federal tax incentives, state officials said on Friday. Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh could not be reached for comment. The news of additional subsidies for Shell, the world's second-largest company with more than $20 billion in profits last year, left state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, "very troubled." "Wouldn't it make more sense for the company that caused the pollution to pay for the costs of cleaning it up, rather than the taxpayers?" asked Leach, who yesterday sent a letter to Gov. Tom Corbett questioning the various credits the state is offering Shell and called for public hearings on the matter..." " (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) (Pennsylvania)-


"Corbett: "We weren't being secret" about $1.7B nat.gas tax credit: "...He rejected criticisms that the plan had been hatched in secret and sprung on lawmakers at the last minute. "We weren't being secret about it," he said. "We said we were working on a tax program. We didn't get into the details because we didn't know them yet."..." " (The Morning Call Blog) (Pennsylvania)-

"PA may pay for cleanup of Shell refinery site: "...HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Lawmakers briefed on Gov. Tom Corbett's package of financial incentives for a planned petrochemical refinery in western Pennsylvania said June 6 that it could also include the cost to clean up pollution from the zinc smelter that has operated there for decades. The revelation by two state senators is the latest about Corbett's negotiations on the facility with Shell Oil Co., a subsidiary of Netherlands-based oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC..." " (The Associated Press) (Pennsylvania)-

"Tennessee Gas discusses controversial pipeline detour: "..."While Tennessee appreciates the views of Pike County," the letter said, the environmental assessment does not support the conclusion of loop opponents that the existing pipeline is the only route that should be considered or approved by FERC. "The nature of the (park) as a federal park and the obstacles to crossing the (park) are legitimate facts that (FERC) considered in determine the overall public interest," the letter said. Pike County commissioners held a phone conference with NPS Northeast Region Dennis Reidenbach, Donahue's supervisor; and representatives from U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey's office..." " (The Ponoco Record) (Pennsylvania & New Jersey)-

"Tom Corbett puts the Frackers first/At least Tom Corbett still is beloved in one corner: "..."Gentlemen, welcome to this annual gathering of the Natural Gas Producers of America! I think I can speak for all our industry's leadership in saying it's a great time to be a fracker!" The chairman continued, "We're especially honored to have a special guest at this year's convention, a man who has set unprecedented standards for hospitality and cooperation with our industry — the governor of Pennsylvania, Mr. Tom Corbett!" The audience applauded enthusiastically..." " (Satire, The Morning Call) (Pennsylvania)-

"Theo Colborn on Gas Development and Air Pollution: "...Dr. Colborn, a world-renowned expert on chemicals' effects on human and environmental health, talks with KDNK's Ed Williams about the implications of natural gas development in the Thompson Divide, Colorado's new fracking fluid disclosure law, and more..." " (Audio, KDNK) (Colorado)-

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