Pennsylvania coal companies receive exemplary surface coal mine reclamation and Keystone mine safety awards

The Pennsylvania Coal Alliance (PCA) recognized eight Pennsylvania coal companies with 14 different awards for their exemplary efforts in the field. Seven current sites were awarded the Keystone Mine Safety Award and seven former sites were recognized with the Surface Coal Mine Reclamation Award at PCA’s annual Seven Springs Banquet on Aug. 20. Gov. Tom Corbett presented the awards. The reclamation awards went to the companies who performed above and beyond the federal and state regulations which require returning coal mining sites to environmentally sound condition with productive uses. (read more)

DEP fines Cabot more than $76,000 for Susquehanna County well-control incident; company lost control of gas well for 27 hours in January

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Aug. 19 announced it has fined Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. of Pittsburgh $76,546 for a January well control incident at the company’s Huston well pad in Brooklyn Township, Susquehanna County. “Cabot lost control of the Huston J1 gas well for 27 hours, to which the department responded to promptly to ensure there were no significant environmental impacts,” DEP Director of District Oil and Gas Operations John Ryder said. “In this incident, mostly gas was released, which dissipated quickly to background levels within 100 feet from the well.” (read more)

Penneast Pipeline Company, LLC, announces project to Mid-Atlantic region; pipeline should reduce energy costs for homes and businesses

PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC, today announced plans to construct a 100-mile pipeline intended to bring lower cost natural gas produced in the Marcellus Shale region to homes and businesses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. PennEast is a joint project of AGL Resources, NJR Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, South Jersey Industries and UGI Energy Services (UGIES), a subsidiary of UGI Corporation. (read more)

Wyoming County Chamber’s August luncheon on Aug. 13 features Edgar Warriner speaking on ‘difference between impact fee, severance tax’

The Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce’s August educational luncheon will take place at Shadowbrook Inn & Resort on Wednesday, Aug. 13 from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Luncheon presenter will be Edgar Warriner, Elk Advisors Group. Edgar Warriner, an experienced business executive and life-long local resident, will be speaking on “Understanding the differences between an Impact Fee and a Severance Tax.” It is the chamber’s position that the potential adoption of a severance tax on natural gas could deal a devastating blow to local businesses, business owners, and land owners. (read more)

DEP awards $1.4 million to ‘Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’ for litter and illegal dumping initiatives

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Aug. 5 announced it has awarded a $1.4 million grant to Pennsylvania Cleanways, also known as Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful (KPB), to increase community involvement with waste issues through illegal dumping abatement, public education and promotion of long-term stewardship. “With this grant, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful will be able continue their important efforts to educate Pennsylvanians on their vital role in keeping their communities clean and reducing illegal littering and dumping across the state,” DEP Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo said. (read more)

Environmental organizations demand investigation of Dept of Health fracking-complaint actions; public concerns ‘can’t be dismissed outright’

Environmental organizations in Pennsylvania on July 15 called for a full investigation into actions by the state Department of Health around natural-gas drilling complaints. The request is on the heels of the revelation that the health department circulated a list of “buzzwords” to the department’s employees with the admonition that calls with drilling-related complaints not be returned. The list of flagged words includes “skin rash,” “hair falling out,” “drilling,” “fracking,” and “Marcellus Shale.” This past weekend, the Associated Press reported that Gov. Tom Corbett’s former top health official said the state has failed to seriously study the potential health impacts of gas drilling activity. (read more)

NEPA college offers national lesson on tailoring curriculum to regional job market

By Dave Gardner The possibility of creating family-sustaining jobs for decades into the future took center stage as Mark Volk, president of Lackawanna College, appeared before a Congressional subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources in Washington, D.C. Volk’s testimony focused on American energy jobs and associated opportunities for education, as he offered an overview of Lackawanna’s expanding School of Petroleum & Natural Gas. (read more)

Most veteran members of natural-gas supply chain discovered, exploited a niche

By Dave Gardner Some vendors harvesting the riches of the Marcellus Shale now exhibit a more “seasoned” understanding of the opportunities before them. George Stark, director of external affairs with Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, says that, at the beginning of gas recovery efforts, many vendors were “gung ho” to do whatever they could to snare that first opportunity. These same companies now realize that filling a specific niche, often through a redefined delivery of their services, is their logical evolution. (read more)

From testing water to paving roads, local vendors now vital part of the natural-gas supply chain

By Dave Gardner A varied line-up of area businesses, while flying under the public’s radar, are tapping the wells of profitability in the Marcellus Shale. Microbac Laboratories, which can trace its origins to the late 1960s in the Pittsburgh area, is an American-owned testing service that is obtaining business with the Marcellus gas industry. The company’s duties include water testing for homeowners, business, and governmental regulatory agencies. In 2008, the company began to work in the Marcellus region after making connections with several engineers and consultants (read more)

The future of gas: Is energy independence within reach? What does the future hold for the Marcellus Shale? Observers fear any change in Pennsylvania’s tax and regulatory climate could drive investment to other parts of the country.

By Dave Gardner Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry is maturing amid a mixture of blessings and challenges. What is the future of the budding industry? Observers hope for the “holy grail” of all energy development — U.S. energy independence. Patrick Henderson, energy advisor with the office of Gov. Tom Corbett, emphasizes that Pennsylvania’s natural gas recovery is in the very early stages of total development. He notes that while fluctuations occur with gas prices, Pennsylvania now has 8,000 wells, of which 5,000 are producing gas and 1,500 are awaiting pipeline connections. (read more)

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