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Ohio Utica Shale

Encore Energy shopping 175,000 acres in SE Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: July 31, 2012

Kentucky-based Encore Energy Inc. announced on Monday that is seeking to sell up to 175,000 leased acres in southeast Ohio to larger drillers.

The leased land may offer oil and wet gases: ethanes, butanes and propanes, the company says.

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Pennsylvania doctor sues over Act 13 gag rule

By Bob Downing Published: July 31, 2012

A Luzerne County doc­tor has filed a fed­eral law­suit against a con­tro­ver­sial aspect of Pennsylvania’s new drilling law, according to NPR's Susan Phillips.

The law, now known as Act 13, requires gas drilling com­pa­nies to pro­vide health pro­fes­sion­als with health and safety infor­ma­tion on chem­i­cal expo­sures expe­ri­enced by indi­vid­ual patients.

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Interactive map shows rigs moving from Pa. to Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: July 31, 2012

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has compiled an interactive map that shows how drilling rigs have moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio.

That's due to the low prices for dry natural gas.

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Pennsylvania appeals Act 13 zoning decision

By Bob Downing Published: July 31, 2012

The state of Pennsylvania has appealed a court decison on the zoning portion of the state's Act 13 drilling law,

The state late Friday appealed the decision by the state appeals court to the state supreme court.

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Magazine looks at Marietta College professor

By Bob Downing Published: July 31, 2012

College professors in Texas and Wyoming have come under scrutiny because of their ties to the drilling industry.

Mother Jones is now taking a closer look at Marietta College professor Robert Chase here in Ohio.

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Forbes interviews father of fracking

By Bob Downing Published: July 30, 2012

George Phydias Mitchell is the father of hydraulic fracturing or fracking with horizontal drilling.

The process was developed in the 1990s in Texas by Mitchell and his company, Mitchell Energy & Development.

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Chesapeake uses Ohio unitization law in Portage, Stark

By Bob Downing Published: July 29, 2012

The Columbus Dispatch today looks at Ohio's unitization law that Chesapeake Energy Corp. used in Portage and Stark counties to assemble an 950-acre tract for drilling.

That tract included 61.4 acres owned by 24 landowners who do not have leases with Chesapeake.

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Ohio Utica shale tidbits

By Bob Downing Published: July 29, 2012

1. The Marcellus Drilling News reports that the eco-group Food and Water Watch is pushing the state of Maryland to adopt a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

There is no fracking taking place in Maryland.

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Caiman secures financing for new Utica infrastructure

By Bob Downing Published: July 29, 2012

Caiman Energy LLC has secured $800 million in equity commitments to develop midstream infrastructure in eastern Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Financing Caiman's initiatives in the Utica shale are Williams Partners, EnCap Flatrock Mainstyream on San Antonio, Highstar Capital onf New York and company management, the Oil & Gas Financial Journal reported.

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How many wells per state inspector?

By Bob Downing Published: July 29, 2012

EnergyWire took a look at how many wells state inspectors are responsible for, and found that the answer is elusive in some states.

Oklahoma has 62 inspectors for 180,000 active wells.

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CPI for natural gas remains low

By Bob Downing Published: July 29, 2012

New federal data shows that the monthly consumer price index for natural gas in June  was the lowest aince February 2003 -- more than nine years ago.

And that's despite a slight uptick in June's prices.

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NRDC still unhappy with Ohio fracking disclosure rules

By Bob Downing Published: July 27, 2012

The Natural Resources Defense Council is still unhappy with Ohio's fracking chemical disclosure rules.

It has compiled a new report that looks at states' disclosure rules and concludes that "no state has an adequate set of disclosure rules."

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Pennsylvania court overturns section of Act 13 drilling law

By Bob Downing Published: July 27, 2012

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court on Thursday ruled that the zoning portion of the state's Act 13 drilling law is unconstitutional,

The decision overturns a key part of the new state law that would have limited local control over where such drilling is allowed.

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More on Dimock, Pa., water

By Bob Downing Published: July 27, 2012

EnergyWire reports that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that the drinking water in Dimock, Pa., is safe.

It will stop delivering drinking water to four households that were featured in the anti-drilling film Gasland.

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Fracktivists in D.C. to protest yesterday

By Bob Downing Published: July 27, 2012

More than 100 anti-fracking activists from 23 states including Ohio traveled to Washington, D.C., on Thursday to demand that Congress take action to protect Americans from hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

The lobby day was part of a weeek-long Stop the Frack Attack, that was billed as the first national event focused on fracking.

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U of Texas to review report on fracking impacts

By Bob Downing Published: July 27, 2012

Bloomberg News reports that the University of Texas will assemble a team of independent experts to review the February report on natural gas fracking, after reports said the professor who led the study is on the board of directors of a gas driller.

The new review could be completed in weeks, officials said.

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Latest on Dimock, Pa., water from U.S. EPA

By Bob Downing Published: July 25, 2012

Here is today's press release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the water problems in Dimock in northeast Pennsylvania:

PHILADELPHIA (July 25, 2012) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has completed its sampling of private drinking water wells in Dimock, Pa. Data previously supplied to the agency by residents, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Cabot Oil and Gas Exploration had indicated the potential for elevated levels of water contaminants in wells, and following requests by residents EPA took steps to sample water in the area to ensure there were not elevated levels of contaminants. Based on the outcome of that sampling, EPA has determined that there are not levels of contaminants present that would require additional action by the Agency.

“Our goal was to provide the Dimock community with complete and reliable information about the presence of contaminants in their drinking water and to determine whether further action was warranted to protect public health,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “The sampling and an evaluation of the particular circumstances at each home did not indicate levels of contaminants that would give EPA reason to take further action. Throughout EPA's work in Dimock, the Agency has used the best available scientific data to provide clarity to Dimock residents and address their concerns about the safety of their drinking water.”

EPA visited Dimock, Pa. in late 2011, surveyed residents regarding their private wells and reviewed hundreds of pages of drinking water data supplied to the agency by Dimock residents, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Cabot. Because data for some homes showed elevated contaminant levels and several residents expressed concern about their drinking water, EPA determined that well sampling was necessary to gather additional data and evaluate whether residents had access to safe drinking water.

Between January and June 2012, EPA sampled private drinking water wells serving 64 homes, including two rounds of sampling at four wells where EPA was delivering temporary water supplies as a precautionary step in response to prior data indicating the well water contained levels of contaminants that pose a health concern. At one of those wells EPA did find an elevated level of manganese in untreated well water. The two residences serviced by the well each have water treatment systems that can reduce manganese to levels that do not present a health concern.

As a result of the two rounds of sampling at these four wells, EPA has determined that it is no longer necessary to provide residents with alternative water. EPA is working with residents on the schedule to disconnect the alternate water sources provided by EPA.

Overall during the sampling in Dimock, EPA found hazardous substances, specifically arsenic, barium or manganese, all of which are also naturally occurring substances, in well water at five homes at levels that could present a health concern. In all cases the residents have now or will have their own treatment systems that can reduce concentrations of those hazardous substances to acceptable levels at the tap. EPA has provided the residents with all of their sampling results and has no further plans to conduct additional drinking water sampling in Dimock.

For more information on the results of sampling, visit: http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/states/pa.html.

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Talisman Energy to pay $62,000 for violations

By Bob Downing Published: July 25, 2012

Talisman Energy USA Inc. will pay a $62,457 penalty to settle alleged violations of hazardous chemical reporting requirements at 52 hydraulically fracturing facilities in Pennsylvania.

The fine was announced today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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U.S. wants New York lawsuit dismissed

By Bob Downing Published: July 25, 2012

The U.S. wants a New York lawsuit seeking further review of the effects of hydraulic fracturing or fracking on the state's water supply dismissed because the commission responsible for the watershed isn't a U.S. agency.

At the center of the debate is the Delaware River Basin Commission created in 1961 by New York and three other states and the federal government.

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Drought unlikely to have long-lasting impact on fracking

By Bob Downing Published: July 25, 2012

A U.S. drought is unlikely to have a long-lasting impact on the extraction of natural gas from shale rocks, especially as the technology improves, says the International Energy Agency's chief economist.

Fatih Birol in a Paris interview on Wednesday said the drought across much of the Midwest was "a temporarry thing." Bloomberg News reported.

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California eco-groups call for fracking moratorium

By Bob Downing Published: July 25, 2012

California's biggest environmental groups gathered in Sacramento and called for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing or fracking until the impacts are better understood.

Today's gathering is the last in a series of workshops on fracking by the California Department of Conservation's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources.

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Ohio Liberty Coalition against Ohio severance tax

By Bob Downing Published: July 24, 2012

The Ohio Liberty Coalition today came out against Gov. John Kasich's proposed severance tax increase on gas-oil drilling.

The governor's proposal is "unnecessary and unwise," said Tom Zawistowski, president of the group that represents 75 conservative liberty-minded grass-roots groups across Ohio.

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Judge in Akron allows pipeline work to continue

By Bob Downing Published: July 24, 2012

U.S. District Judge John Adams today ruled that work can continue in a pipeline in Carroll County.

Adams dissolved a temporary restraining order issued two weeks ago, in the lawsuit filed by landowner Joseph Coniglio, the Youngstown-based Business Journal reported.

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Utica shale tidbits

By Bob Downing Published: July 24, 2012

1. The new Socialist French government is considering lifting the country's ban on hydraulic fracturing of fracking.

2. Los Angeles-based OriginOil Inc. is using its algae system to treat fracking flowback water.

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OEC backs proposal to protect gasland landowners

By Bob Downing Published: July 24, 2012

The Ohio Environmental Council is backing a proposal by State Rep. Mark Okey, D-Carrollton, to protect Ohio landowners from predatory leasing practices by the oil and gas industry.

He has called on legislative leaders and Gov. John Kasich to end predatory leasing and to establish consumer rights for property owners.

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Pennsylvania launching long-term air study

By Bob Downing Published: July 24, 2012

On Monday, Pennsylvania announced it was kicking off a long-term analysis of air quality near Marcellus shale drilling sites in Washington County in southwest Pennsylvania.

The analysis is expected to take one year to complete.

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Fracking is a big topic in Europe, too

By Bob Downing Published: July 24, 2012

From GlobalData:

LONDON, UK: Natural gas is an important resource for Europe, and the region has witnessed a steady rise in its natural gas demand over many years, with consumption currently double domestic production, according to a new report by natural resources experts GlobalData.

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Health threat is topic of Aug. 8 Medina talk

By Bob Downing Published: July 24, 2012

A physician from southwest Ohio will speak on the effect of toxic chemicals from hydraulic fracturing or fracking on human health on Aug. 8.

Dr. Deborah Cowden, president of the Greene County Medical Society, will speak on "The Effects of Fracking Toxins on the Body (Fracking Does a Lot to the Environment but What Does It Do to the Body?)"

Her talk will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Unity Life Enrichment Center @ Williams on the Lake, 787 Lafayette Road, Medina.

The program is being presented by the Concerned Citizens of Medina County and is designed for the public, first responders, health-care professionals and elected officials.

Kerry Mathias of Precision Analytical will also give a presentation on water testing.

Admission is free. For more details, go to www.fracking.weebly.com.

A physician from southwest Ohio will speak on the effect of toxic chemicals from hydraulic fracturing or fracking on human health on Aug. 8.

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Debate is often long on emotion, short on facts

By Bob Downing Published: July 23, 2012

From the Associated Press and reporter Kevin Begos:

PITTSBURGH — In the debate over natural gas drilling, the companies are often the ones accused of twisting the facts. But scientists say opponents sometimes mislead the public, too.

Critics of fracking often raise alarms about groundwater pollution, air pollution, and cancer risks, and there are still many uncertainties. But some of the claims have little — or nothing— to back them.

For example, reports that breast cancer rates rose in a region with heavy gas drilling are false, researchers told The Associated Press.

Fears that natural radioactivity in drilling waste could contaminate drinking water aren’t being confirmed by monitoring, either.

And concerns about air pollution from the industry often don’t acknowledge that natural gas is a far cleaner burning fuel than coal.

"The debate is becoming very emotional. And basically not using science" on either side, said Avner Vengosh, a Duke University professor studying groundwater contamination who has been praised and criticized by both sides.

Shale gas drilling has attracted national attention because advances in technology have unlocked billions of dollars of gas reserves, leading to a boom in production, jobs, and profits, as well as concerns about pollution and public health. Shale is a gas-rich rock formation thousands of feet underground, and the gas is freed through a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in which large volumes of water, plus sand and chemicals, are injected to break the rock apart.

The Marcellus Shale covers large parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and West Virginia, while the Barnett Shale is in north Texas. Many other shale deposits have been discovered.

One of the clearest examples of a misleading claim comes from north Texas, where gas drilling began in the Barnett Shale about 10 years ago.

Opponents of fracking say breast cancer rates have spiked exactly where intensive drilling is taking place — and nowhere else in the state. The claim is used in a letter that was sent to New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo by environmental groups and by Josh Fox, the Oscar-nominated director of "Gasland," a film that criticizes the industry. Fox, who lives in Brooklyn, has a new short film called "The Sky is Pink."

But researchers haven’t seen a spike in breast cancer rates in the area, said Simon Craddock Lee, a professor of medical anthropology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

David Risser, an epidemiologist with the Texas Cancer Registry, said in an email that researchers checked state health data and found no evidence of an increase in the counties where the spike supposedly occurred.

And Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a major cancer advocacy group based in Dallas, said it sees no evidence of a spike, either.

"We don’t," said Chandini Portteus, Komen’s vice president of research, adding that they sympathize with people’s fears and concerns, but "what we do know is a little bit, and what we don’t know is a lot" about breast cancer and the environment.

Yet Fox tells viewers in an ominous voice that "In Texas, as throughout the United States, cancer rates fell — except in one place— in the Barnett Shale."

Lee called the claims of an increase "a classic case of the ecological fallacy" because they falsely suggest that breast cancer is linked to just one factor. In fact, diet, lifestyle and access to health care also play key roles.

Fox responded to questions by citing a press release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that doesn’t support his claim, and a newspaper story that Risser said is "not based on a careful statistical analysis of the data."

When Fox was told that Texas cancer researchers said rates didn’t increase, he replied in an email that the claim of unusually high breast cancer rates was "widely reported" and said there is "more than enough evidence to warrant much deeper study."

Another instance where fears haven’t been confirmed by science is the concern that radioactivity in drilling fluids could threaten drinking water supplies.

Critics of fracking note the deep underground water that comes up along with gas has high levels of natural radioactivity. Since much of that water, called flowback, was once being discharged into municipal sewage treatment plants and then rivers in Pennsylvania, there was concern about public water supplies.

But in western Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority did extensive tests and didn’t find a problem in area rivers. State environmental officials said monitoring at public water supply intakes across the state showed non-detectable levels of radiation, and the two cases that showed anything were at background levels.

Concerns about the potential problem also led to regulatory changes. An analysis by The Associated Press of data from Pennsylvania found that of the 10.1 million barrels of shale wastewater generated in the last half of 2011, about 97 percent was either recycled, sent to deep-injection wells, or sent to a treatment plant that doesn’t discharge into waterways.

Critics of fracking also repeat claims of extreme air pollution threats, even as evidence mounts that the natural gas boom is in some ways contributing to cleaner air.

Marcellus air pollution "will cause a massive public health crisis," claims a section of the Marcellus Shale Protest website.

Yet data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that the shale gas boom is helping to turn many large power plants away from coal, which emits far more pollution. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency passed new rules to force drillers to limit releases of methane from wells and pumping stations.

Some environmental groups now say that natural gas is having a positive effect on air quality.

Earlier this year, the group PennFuture said gas is a much cleaner burning fuel, and it called gas-fired power plants "orders of magnitude cleaner" than coal plants.

Marcellus Shale Protest said in response to a question about its claims that "any possible benefit in electric generation must be weighed against the direct harm from the industrial processes of gas extraction."

One expert said there’s an actual psychological process at work that sometimes blinds people to science, on the fracking debate and many others.

"You can literally put facts in front of people, and they will just ignore them," said Mark Lubell, the director of the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior at the University of California, Davis.

Lubell said the situation, which happens on both sides of a debate, is called "motivated reasoning." Rational people insist on believing things that aren’t true, in part because of feedback from other people who share their views, he said.

Vengosh noted the problem of spinning science isn’t new, or limited to one side in the gas drilling controversy. For example, industry supporters have claimed that drilling never pollutes water wells, when state regulators have confirmed cases where it has. He says the key point is that science is slow, and research into gas drilling’s many possible effects are in the early stages, and much more work remains to be done.

"Everyone takes what they want to see," Vengosh said, adding that he hopes that the fracking debate will become more civilized as scientists obtain more hard data.

From the Associated Press and reporter Kevin Begos:

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Bloomberg: Buying research at universities

By Bob Downing Published: July 23, 2012

According to Bloomberg News, oil-gas producers are taking a page from the tobacco industry: funding research at established universities that arrives at conclusions that counter concerns raised by ciritics.

It is a growing problem, according to Ohio State University professor.

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Sean and Yoko: 'Don't Frack My Mother'

By Bob Downing Published: July 19, 2012

Jimmy Fallon recently hosted Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon and their new protest song about fracking.

The tune is called "Don't Frack My Mother."

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Pennsylvania drilling tidbit

By Bob Downing Published: July 19, 2012

To date, 31.4 percent of Pennsylvania's state forests have been drilled for Marcellus shale drilling.

That means there are leases on 692,000 acres within the state's forest systemt hat covers 2.2 million acres.

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GE Oil and Gas eying Canton for new facility

By Bob Downing Published: July 19, 2012

The Marcellus Drilling News reports that the city of Canton in negotiating with GE Oil and Gas for a new facility.

The company wants to build a 24,000-square-foot facility at the Mills Business Park on Canton's south side.

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Hess Energy to open Steubenville office

By Bob Downing Published: July 19, 2012

The Herald-Star reports that Hess Energy will open its Steubenville field office next week.

The opening will reportedly be a low-key affair.

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Group wants Texas air pollution reduced

By Bob Downing Published: July 19, 2012

Natural-gas compressors, pipelines and plants released more than 70,000 tons of pollutants in Texas over the last three years due to accidents or other "abnormal" events, a watch-dog group says.

These “emission events,” which also occurred at refineries and chemical plants, accounted for about 15 percent of the sulfur dioxide and volatile organic compounds released by those facilities in Texas, the Environmental Integrity Project said in a report. The group compiled the data from reports the companies filed with state regulators.

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New water, wastewater facility on Ohio River opens

By Bob Downing Published: July 18, 2012

Texas-based GreenHunter Energy Inc. has opened a new water and wastewater  facility at New Matamoras in Ohio's Washington County.

The facility on the Ohio River includes bulk water storage and barge transloading..

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Man killed in Bolivar blast from Stark County

By Bob Downing Published: July 18, 2012

The man killed in a gas-oil well explosion on Monday has been identified as a 19 year old from Stark County’s Jackson Township.

Dead is Paul Christopher Sherman, the son of Michael Sherman and Darla Sherman-Clarke.

The younger Sherman was painting the tank off state Route 212 south of Bolivar in northern Tuscarawas County about 9:30 a.m. when the explosion occurred, officials said.

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation by the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s office.

Sherman was a 2011 graduate of Canton Central Catholic High School and had attended Baldwin Wallace University in Berea.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Canton. Calling hours: 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Karlo-Libby funeral home.

The man killed in a gas-oil well explosion on Monday has been identified as a 19 year old from Stark County’s Jackson Township.

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'Truthland' screening on Thursday in Jackson Twp.

By Bob Downing Published: July 18, 2012

The movie Truthland will be screened at 7 p.m. Thursday (July 19)  at Kent State University’s Stark campus.

The film, touted as a counter to the anti-fracking film Gasland, is being presented by Energy in Depth-Ohio, the pro-drilling industry group.

A key figure from the film, Shelly Depue, who lives in northeast Pennsylvania, will join in a panel discussion of drilling after the film is shown.

The film will be shown in the auditorium at Main Hall at 6000 Frank Ave. NW. Free.

The movie Truthland will be screened at 7 p.m. Thursday (July 19)  at Kent State University’s Stark campus.

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New federal study looking at fracking

By Bob Downing Published: July 17, 2012

The Congressional Research Service has issued a new report looking at hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

The 42-page report wass prepared by staffers Mary Tiemann and Adam Vann.

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More on Nationwide Insurance move

By Bob Downing Published: July 17, 2012

The Doddridge News in West Virginia is taking another look at the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. decision in the paper's Marcellus at the Door column.

Click here  to read the full story.

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Daniels to head Ohio State energy resource center

By Bob Downing Published: July 17, 2012

Dr. Jeffrey Daniels has been named to head the Ohio State Subsurface Energy Resource Center.

His appointment is effective July 1.

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New York group presents file to governor

By Bob Downing Published: July 17, 2012

A compilation of independent scientific studies and reports related to the health impacts of hydrofracking was presented to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo today by a representative of a delegation of medical doctors and scientists.

In a cover letter, the experts have requested a meeting with the governor to discuss his desire for "the facts and logic and science and information," which he says will be the basis for his decision on the controversial gas drilling technique.

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Three arrested at Trumbull County injection protest

By Bob Downing Published: July 16, 2012

Three people were arrested this morning as they attempted to block access to an injection well in Trumbull County.

The well for drilling wastes is in Vienna Township.

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Canton protest planned tonight

By Bob Downing Published: July 16, 2012

Anti-fracking protestors say they will stage a mock funeral procession tonight in downtown Canton.

The march, complete with a casket, will begin at 6 p.m. at the Chesapeake Energy Corp. offices at 400 Third Street SE and proceed to Canton City Hall where City Council will meet, 218 Cleveland Ave. SW

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Newspaper: Chesapeake renegotiating Ohio leases

By Bob Downing Published: July 16, 2012

The Wall Street Journal reports that Chesapeake Energy is seeking to renegotiate already-signed leases with Ohio landowners, a move that has angered some landowners.

The financially troubled company is trying to hold onto its Ohio leases, despite the money problems.

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One dead in Bolivar well explosion

By Bob Downing Published: July 16, 2012
Oil Well-Explosion_Kada

The Canton Repository and the New Phiadelphia Times-Reporter both reported that one person was killed this morning in a well explosion near Bolivar.

The explosion occurred about 9:34 a.m. off state Route 212 near Kingwood Drive NE and Huffman Square NE south of Bolivar in northern Tuscarawas County.

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Natural gas on track to replace coal as top U.S. energy source

By Jim Mackinnon Published: July 16, 2012

Natural gas is overtaking coal as the top energy source in the United States, write Alexis Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic.

Madrigal writes: "You may not have noticed, but there is something happening to the American electricity supply that we've never seen before. Not in 1973 or 1950 or even in 1900. As long as Americans have made electricity, they've gotten more of it from coal than from any fuel. While petroleum and natural gas have played huge roles in our energy system, coal's been responsible for more than 65 percent of the fossil-fuel electricity we've generated for most of the last 50 years. (And for big chunks of the 20th century, we made half of all the electricity in this country by burning coal.)

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Sherrod Brown column of Ohio shale drilling

By Bob Downing Published: July 16, 2012

Energy in Depth-Ohio, a pro-drilling industry group, is circulating a guest column on Ohio shale drilling and jobs by U.S. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Click here  to read Brown's column that was distributed today by the group.

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Essay: U.S. shale production could be a world changer

By Jim Mackinnon Published: July 16, 2012

Scholar and foreign policy expert Walter Russell Mead writes again at his blog, Via Meadia, about how shale oil and gas is a "game changer" in the 21st century, with powerful and positive implications for the United States if the shale potential is fulfilled.

Mead writes:

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Colorado activists to test air near drilling

By Bob Downing Published: July 16, 2012

A grass-roots Colorado group is kickinjg off a campaign to test local air for pollutants from drilling.

The new effort is getting under way in and around Erie.

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CONSOL well in Westmoreland Co. gets big results

By Bob Downing Published: July 15, 2012

Pittsburgh-based CONSOL Energy has a very productive well in Westmoreland County in southwest Pennsylvania.

The energy company reported in an operations update that the Gaut 4A well had produced a peak rate of 17.9 million cubic feet of natural gas in a 24-hour period.

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Cleveland groundwater conference on July 24-26

By Bob Downing Published: July 15, 2012

The U.S. Department of Energy and the Groundwater Protection Council are hosting the Stray Gas Incidence & Response Forum on July 24-26 in Cleveland.

The meeting will be held at the Renaissance Cleveland. Hotel rooms are available through July 20.

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Industry group: Nothing new from Nationwide

By Bob Downing Published: July 15, 2012

The pro-drilling industry group, Energy in Depth, has posted a column by David Stein in which the author says that Nationwide's decision not to insure policy holders against fracking claims is not new.

You can read the column here.

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Oil rig count hits record high in U.S.

By Bob Downing Published: July 15, 2012

The number of oil drilling rigs rose by eight last week to a record high 1,427.

That is the highest level recorded since Texas-based Baker Hughes Inc. began its weekly rig count in 1987,

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Valero wants more hydrocracker production

By Bob Downing Published: July 15, 2012

Bloomberg News reports that Valero Enery Corp. plans to increase production by 10,000 barrels a day within the the next year at refineries in Texas and Louisiana.

Both new hydrocrackers had been planned to operate at 50,000 barrels a day, but both will run at 60,000 barrels a day, the company said.

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NiSource Inc. to spend $500 million on Ohio pipelines

By Bob Downing Published: July 14, 2012

The Columbus Dispatch reported on Friday that NiSource Inc. intends to spend $500 million to upgarde 459 miles of interstate pipelines in Ohio

The project will create 1,000 construction jobs and will take 10 years to complete.

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OEC is pleased by Kasich's Lake Erie order

By Bob Downing Published: July 14, 2012

The Ohio Environmental Council is pleased with Gov. John Kasich's move earlier this week to ban natural gas drilling under Lake Erie.

Kasich signed an executive order making such drilling illegal on the Ohio side.

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Methane may have leaked from Bradford Co. well

By Bob Downing Published: July 14, 2012

High levels of methane gas may have infiltrated private water wells and streams in Pennsylvania's Bradford County through small open spaces in a natural gas well that a drilling company was working to repair, environmental regulators said on Thursday.

A description of the problem was included in a letter from Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer to a local environmental group, the Clean Air Council.

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United Kingdom firm to install earthquake monitors

By Bob Downing Published: July 14, 2012

Reuters reports that Cuadrilla Resources will add earthquake monitors at its drilling sites in the United Kingdom.

That news comes more than a year after the British government ordered the firm to halt hydraulic fracturing or fracking temporarily after nearby minor earthquakes near Blackpool.

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Kasich, drillers spar over new Ohio severance tax

By Bob Downing Published: July 13, 2012

Ohio Gov. John Kasich today held a Statehouse press conference to renew his call for a new severance tax on gas-oil drilling in Ohio.

He announced that his plan is being supported by Fred Dailey, the former director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

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BP intent on drilling in Northeast Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: July 13, 2012

The head of BP made a visit to Cleveland today, and the company is eager to begin drilling for natural gas in Northeast Ohio.

Click here  to read today's story from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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Nationwide says fracking not covered by policies

By Bob Downing Published: July 13, 2012

The first American insurance company has said fracking is not covered by its policies.

The announcement came on Thursday from Columbus-based Nationalwide Mutual Insurance Co.

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City Club speaker says shale gas being overhyped

By Bob Downing Published: July 13, 2012

Deborah Rogers of the Texas-based Energy Policy Forum is not one to hype shale gas.

She told the City Club of Cleveland this week that the amount of gas produced and the safety of the drilling operations are vastly overrated.

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Ohio drilling permits hit 285; 92 wells drilled

By Bob Downing Published: July 13, 2012

The latest data from the Ohio Department of Natural resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management show 285 Utica shale permits have been issued.

Of that total, 92 wells have been drilled in eastern Ohio, according to data from the week of July 1.

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U.S. EPA looking at new rules on diesel in fracking

By Bob Downing Published: July 13, 2012

On May 4, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a draft underground injection control permitting guidance for oil and gas hydraulic fracturing activities using diesel fuels.

Now the agency has extended the public-comment period on that proposal by 45 days to Aug. 23.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempted hydraulic fracturing operations from requirements to obtain an underground injection control (“UIC”) permit under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act ("SDWA"), except when diesel fuels are used as a fracturing fluid. However, the act did not define the term “diesel fuels.”

The proposed guidance attempts to provide clarity for EPA permit writers issuing UIC permits under the SDWA.

Environmental groups have lobbied for EPA to broadly define the term “diesel fuels” to include any material containing benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene compounds.

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Utica shale tidbits

By Bob Downing Published: July 13, 2012

1. A Brazilian petrochemical company has bought part of Suncoco's Marcus Hook refinery near Philadelphia.

The company, Braskem America, said it wants to use a propylene splitter to turn low-grade propylene into polypropylene or plastics.

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Environment Ohio pleased with Lake Erie drilling ban

By Bob Downing Published: July 12, 2012

Here is the statement from Julian Boggs of Environment Ohio, after Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Wedneday signed an executive order banning drilling or natural gas under Lake Erie;

Environment Ohio praised Governor Kasich’s decision to issue an executive order barring oil and gas drilling in Lake Erie.

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Warren's Patriot Water case is muddled, for now

By Bob Downing Published: July 12, 2012

On July 3, a state appeals board ruled in the case involving the city of Warren, Patriot Water Treatment and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The ruling by the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission appeared to open the way for fracking liquids to be discharged to Ohio streams, a possibility that upset Ohio environmentalists.

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AFL-CIO advises federal agencies of fracking risks

By Bob Downing Published: July 12, 2012

Labor groups are working to get more attention paid to the risks of silica exposure in hydraulic fracturing or fracking in the shale gas industry.

The labor group has been writing letters to federal agencies, pointing out that a two-year federal assessment found that among workers exposed, 79 percent of silica samples exceeded recommended federal exposure limits.

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Williams, Caiman in new Utica deal worth $800 million

By Bob Downing Published: July 12, 2012

Midstream Williams Partners LP said on Tuesday that it will invest $380 million for new infrastructure for gas and oil producers in the Utica shale in parts of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

Williams will be part of a joint venture with Caiman Energy II, Williams Partners, EnCap Flatrock Midfstream of San Antonio, Highstar Capital of New York and Caiman management expect to invest a total of $800 million to develop pipelines and processing facilities in the two states.

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Battelle: EPA fracking study could be improved

By Bob Downing Published: July 12, 2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking into hydraulic fracturing or fracking and its impacts on water.

A study by the Battelle Institute done for the American Petroleum Institute and America's Natural Gas Alliance calls for the more collaboration between the agency and stakeholders in order to produce a better and more-comprehensive report.

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Kasich signs ban of Lake Erie drilling

By Bob Downing Published: July 11, 2012

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has signed an executive order that makes Lake Erie off-limits to drilling.

He signed the order today as part a day-long fishing trip on Lake Erie and Fish Ohio activities in Port Clinton.

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U.S. DOE testing fluid migration at Pa. well

By Bob Downing Published: July 11, 2012

From the Associated Press today:

PITTSBURGH: A new U.S. Department of Energy study may provide some of the first solid answers to an extremely controversial question: Do gas drilling fluids migrate and pose a threat to drinking water?

Department spokesman Richard Hammack says a gas drilling company in southwestern Pennsylvania has let researchers add tracing compounds to the fluids used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The well is tapping the gas-rich Marcellus Shale. Hammack says researchers will be able to see if the drilling fluids move upward or sideways from the well bottom, which is 8,100 feet deep.

Environmentalists say the fluids associated with drilling can rise and pollute shallow drinking water aquifers.

The industry and many state and federal officials say the practice is safe when done properly, but there have also been cases where faulty wells did cause pollution.

From the Associated Press today:

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Ohio adopting tough new rules on injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: July 11, 2012

From the Associated Press late on Tuesday:

Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Tuesday issued an executive order that immediately imposed new state regulations on deep-injection wells used to dispose of chemically-laced wastewater from oil and gas drilling.

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NiSource, Hilcorp announce $300 million Utica deal

By Bob Downing Published: July 11, 2012

The parent company of Columbia Gas of Ohio on Monday announced plans for a $300 million joint venture in the Utica shale with Texas-based Hilcorp Energy Co.

Thye deal involves NiSource Inc.'s Midstream and Minerals Group., based in Indiana.

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Earthquake suit pending in Arkansas

By Bob Downing Published: July 11, 2012

What is generally believed to be the first class-action lawsuit against oil and gas companies for causing earthqaukes is working its way through federal courts in Arkansas, according EnergyWire..

The suit stems from numerous quakes as strong as 4.7 that rattled northern Arkansas.

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Online no-frack, no-inject petition available

By Bob Downing Published: July 11, 2012

Carolyn Harding of Bexley, a Columbus suburb, has posted a petition on SignOn.org.

It calls for an Ohio ban on fracking or hydraulic fracturing in drilling for natural gas. It also calls for a ban on injecting drilling wastes into underground rock formations via injection wells.

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Three charged in Pennsylvania protest

By Bob Downing Published: July 10, 2012

Three people were charged on Monday by Pennsylvania State Police in connection with a Sunday morning drilling protest in Moshannon State Forest in Clearfield County.

Click here  to read the story by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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Do natural gas liquids really matter, expert asks

By Jim Mackinnon Published: July 10, 2012

Michael Levi asks, in a blog essay at the Council on Foreign Relations, if natural gas liquids (NGLs) are "as good as" oil.

"NGLs are the light hydrocarbons other than methane that produced as part of natural gas; the most abundant ones are ethane, propane, and butane. Official statistical agencies tend to lump them together with crude oil when discussing long term trends," Levi writes "Thus, when the EIA or IEA say that world oil production has been rising consistently for the past decade, they are talking not only about crude oil, but about NGLs too."

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Response to new Duke study, Part 1

By Bob Downing Published: July 10, 2012

The pro-drilling industry group, Energy in Depth, took issue with the study released on Monday by researchers at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Click here  to read the group's response that was written by Chris Tucker.

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Response to new Duke study, Part II

By Bob Downing Published: July 10, 2012

Here is what the journalism outfit ProPublica had to say about Monday's report from Duke University on a possible connection between Marcellus shale gases and salinity and drinking-water aquifers..

Click here  to access the story.

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Changes are taking place in western Pennsylvania

By Bob Downing Published: July 10, 2012

The Zanesville Times-Recorder visited Washington County in western Pernnsylvania to document some of the changes that are tied to drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus shale.

Click here  to read reporter Russ Zimmer's account.

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Fracking opponents to rally July 28 in Washington, D.C.

By Bob Downing Published: July 10, 2012

A national protest against fracking is planned July 28 in Washington, D.C.

The 2 p.m. rally is billed as Stop the Frack Attack.

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No Delaware River vote until November 2012

By Bob Downing Published: July 10, 2012

Parts of eastern Pennsylvania within the Delaware River basin have been under a shale drilling moratorium since the Marcellus shale drilling boom got started four years ago.

Drilling in that area has been blocked by the Delaware River Basin Commission.

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Duke study offers good news-bad news scenarios

By Bob Downing Published: July 9, 2012

A Duke University study of well water in northeastern Pennsylvania suggests that naturally occurring pathways could have allowed salts and gases from the Marcellus shale formation deep underground to migrate up into shallow drinking water aquifers.

The study found elevated levels of salinity with similar geochemistry to deep Marcellus brine in drinking water samples from three aquifers, but no direct links between the salinity and shale gas exploration in the region.

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Typical Bakken oil shale well will generate millions of dollars, N. Dakota report says

By Jim Mackinnon Published: July 9, 2012

Each typical Bakken oil shale well in North Dakota will generate millions of dollars in taxes, royalties, salaries and profits over its expected nearly three-decade lifetime, the state of North Dakota estimates in a report.

"A typical 2011 Bakken well will cost $7,925,000 to drill and complete, and will produce oil for 29 years," says a summary of the report at Carpe Diem, a blog by Mark J. Perry, professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan.

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U.S. big winner in global shale energy revolution

By Jim Mackinnon Published: July 9, 2012

Scholar and foreign policy expert Walter Russell Mead, whose blog Via Meadia is at The American Interest, says the world is undergoing an energy revolution in large part because of shale.

And that will benefit America profoundly, he writes:

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Brief drilling protest on Sunday at state forest

By Bob Downing Published: July 9, 2012

A small protest against drilling was staged on Sunday by protestors at a drilling site in Pennsylvania's Moshan­non State For­est.

The blockade began Sunday morning and ended late Sunday when police used a cherry-picker to remove two tree-sitters.

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Drilling rigs in Pennsylvania on decline

By Bob Downing Published: July 9, 2012

The number of drilling rigs working in Pennsylavania's Marcellus shale is dropping, due largely to low prices for natural gas.

That trend is unlikely to change soon, say the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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Salem signs lease with Chesapeake Energy

By Bob Downing Published: July 9, 2012

The city of Salem has agreed to sign a lease with Chesapeake Energy Corp. for 381 acres of city-owned land.

The deal calls for a signing bonus of $3,500 an acre and 20 percent royalties on any production with an additional $3,500 per acre for a three-year extension.

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Three national groups support water protection

By Bob Downing Published: July 9, 2012

The American Water Works Association has joined with the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies and the National Association of Water Companies in issuing a joint policy statement on the protection of drinking water supplies from hydraulic fracturing and oil and gas development.

The policy statement outlines recommendations to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Congress to protect drinking water supplies through proper oversight of these activities, as well as a set of principles regarding oil and gas development supported by the associations.

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Blogger: 43 percent is not good enough

By Bob Downing Published: July 9, 2012

Blogger John Amos of Skytruth is angry that only 43 percent of the chemicals being used in hydraulic fracturing or fracking are being revealed.

That's his estimate based on a fresh look at FracFocus.

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Bradford County is No. 1 in Pennsylvania

By Bob Downing Published: July 8, 2012

Bradford County is No. 1 in Pennsylvania for Marcellus shale wells with 1,749 wells.

It is also No. 1 in Pennsylvania for violations, according to NPR's StateImpact Pennsylvania.Bradford has had 613 violations.

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Could New York's fracking plan be limited to four counties?

By Bob Downing Published: July 8, 2012

The Marcellus Drilling News reports that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to allow limited horizontal drilling in the Marcellus shale could be limited to four southern counties.

Initial reports said that hydraulic fracturing or fracking might be allowed for two years in five New York counties: Broome, Chenango, Chemung, Steuben and Tioga.

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ProPublica publishes long look at injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: July 8, 2012

U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons into rocks below ground in the past several decades, according to ProPublica.

The assumption is that the toxic waste is safe below ground and does not pose a threat to aquifers.

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Hiram meeting on protecting water supplies

By Bob Downing Published: July 8, 2012

Fran Teresi of the Garrettsville's Board  of Public Affairs, will speak on Wednesday (July 11) at a public meeting in northern Portage County.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Hiram Christian Church at state Routes 82 and 700 in Hiram.

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Cleveland City Club to host shale drilling program

By Bob Downing Published: July 8, 2012

The Cleveland City Club on Wednesday (July 11) will welcome Deborah Rogers, a Texas financial analyst and founder of the Energy Policy Forum.

Her luncheon talk will run from noon to 1:30 .m. at the City Club, 850 Euclid Ave. The deadline for reservations is Monday, July 9. Tickets are $25.

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Warren water-treatment plant is back in business

By Bob Downing Published: July 6, 2012

A state appeals board has ruled that a Trumbull County water treatment facility can operate.

The Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was wrong in its dealings with Patriot Water Treatment.

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ProPublica looks at the new 'Dallas' TV show

By Bob Downing Published: July 6, 2012

Dallas has returned to television and the Ewings are fracking, says ProPublica, the journalism outfit.

Alternative energy is  also creeping into the story line about the Ewing family.

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Shale supply database goes statewide

By Bob Downing Published: July 6, 2012

The Ohio Shale Coalition has taken over a shale supply database that had been started by Ohio University.

The plan is to offer supply chain information on all 88 counties in Ohio, not just the 12 counties in southeast Ohio.

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Truck-stop operator eyes 100 natural-gas filling stations

By Bob Downing Published: July 6, 2012

The Youngstwon Vindicator reports that TravelCenters of America LLC plans to construct 100 liquified natural gas filling stations across the United States.

The company, based in the Cleveland suburb of Westlake, expects a rise in demand for the fuel from the long long-haul trucking industry.

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ProPublica updates investigative site on Chesapeake Energy

By Jim Mackinnon Published: July 5, 2012

The award-winning online investigative journalism organization ProPublica posted a roundup today on its web site, "Chesapeake Energy Cheat Sheet: What's Been Uncovered So Far."

The piece focuses on the latest in an ongoing series of stories by Reuters on Chesapeake Energy.

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Ohio to hire 70 new drilling inspectors

By Bob Downing Published: July 5, 2012

By Jim Malewitz

Stateline.org

WASHINGTON — The surging natural gas industry has sparked a hiring frenzy in Ohio.

Energy companies are adding workers to tap the lucrative Utica shale deposit that stretches across the state’s eastern half. In rusty cities such as Youngstown, the demand for drilling equipment has swelled the ranks of steelmakers.

Even the cash-strapped state government is hiring because of the gas boom: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says it plans to add many as 70 new field inspectors to its oil and gas team by the end of the year, more than tripling its inspection force.

The agency had more than a quarter of its budget cut between 2011 and 2012, but it will be able to add the new workers thanks to a huge increase in fees collected from drilling applications. Natural gas companies drilled just 25 new wells in Ohio in 2011. But state regulators predict that number will soar to 250 by the end of this year and double by the end of 2013. Meanwhile, oil well drilling is expected to stay steady.

Gwen Lachelt of Washington, D.C.-based Earthworks, which advocates more oversight of the natural gas industry, praised Ohio’s move — but she worries that it won’t be enough. She also notes that in other states with surging natural gas production, there has been no effort to beef up oversight of the oil and gas industry.

"No one is minding the store," Lachelt says. "The states are simply not enforcing what regulations they do have on the books. ... They don’t have enough inspectors, and wells are going uninspected."

Increasingly, energy companies are using horizontal hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — to extract natural gas trapped within underground shale formations. By blasting millions of gallons of chemical-laced water into the ground, companies are able to extract gas that used to be impossible to reach. But critics of fracking argue that the method can easily contaminate local water supplies.

Ohio isn’t the first state to respond to the shale gas revolution by hiring more inspectors. In Pennsylvania, where natural gas drillers have flocked for several years, the state has added more than 100 inspectors since 2009.

Even before it began adding workers en masse, Ohio ratcheted up its inspections. Last year, Ohio’s team of about 30 inspectors performed a total of 11,842 inspections, up from 1,300 in 2010.

But Ohio inspectors visited fewer than half of the state’s 55,749 oil and gas wells. In Ohio, as in many other states, inspectors simply don’t have enough time to visit the hundreds — or thousands — of wells they are assigned to oversee.

In Ohio, the shale plates are mostly confined to the eastern and northwestern parts of the state. Still, each inspector might log up to 2,500 miles in a month, says Gene Chini, who supervises inspectors in the northern part of the state.

A well inspection can take hours or just minutes, depending on the circumstances. Most inspections take place during new drilling, when environmental problems are most likely to occur. In Ohio and Colorado, regulators might visit a new drilling site a handful of times in a single week, state officials say.

Once the drilling process is complete, inspectors spend most of their time responding to complaints — from landowners or others — about local wells. When there is time, inspectors make random visits. They check for cracks in cement well casings, or damage to other equipment that may cause spills, or leakage of poisonous gas into the air or water supply.

But because of a lack of manpower, most wells across the U.S. are not inspected in a given year. Many of them are small wells, where any problems would be small, too.

Ohio’s inspectors have an easier job than their counterparts in some other states. New Mexico has roughly the same number of oil and gas wells as Ohio, but it employs only 12 inspectors to oversee them. That small crew made between 25,000 and 30,000 inspections last year — more than 2,000 per inspector, according to data gathered by Earthworks.

Oklahoma has a much bigger staff. It employs 58 inspectors this year, 6 more than it had in 2011, according to figures the state provided to Stateline. But Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas reserves are bigger than those in most other states. Its inspectors oversee a total of 180,000 oil, gas and injection wells. Last year, the team made more than 52,000 inspections.

In Colorado, home to 47,651 wells, a team of 15 performed 12,000 inspections in 2011, according to the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Since some wells were inspected more than once, particularly during drilling, the stage where the bulk of accidents occur, that means that inspectors examined far fewer than one-quarter of them during the year. The agency has since added two inspectors.

"It’s a long distance between wells," says Thom Kerr, director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. "(Inspectors) easily drive over 400 miles a day."

In some states, those same inspectors must also handle problems with abandoned wells, many of which often go undocumented and can be hard to find. That’s the case in Oklahoma, says Matt Skinner, spokesperson for the state’s Corporation Commission, which recently spent at least a week finding and plugging a long-forgotten well that was gushing underwater.

Neal Woods, a University of South Carolina professor who specializes in enforcement of environmental policy, says it’s not surprising that some states pay little attention to enforcement, a topic that’s seldom discussed in legislatures, or covered by the media.

"It’s an easy target for cutting," he says. "There’s a lot of attention paid to the development of initial standards, but the enforcement tends to be kind of behind the curtain."

In West Virginia, which permits between 400 and 500 new wells each year, a team of 15 is charged with monitoring more than 55,000 active wells. The state’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is trying to hire more inspectors, but doing so has proved difficult. The starting annual salary for an inspector is just $35,000, an amount that’s nonnegotiable because it’s set by statute.

"We are in a very challenging position," James Martin, chief of the office of Oil and Gas for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, said in a statement earlier this month. "We have jobs that need to be done, but we don’t have enough candidates for them because of the requirements and we are limited in the salary we can offer."

Kerr, the Colorado commission head, admits he’d like to see more resources for inspections. "We certainly could use more manpower," he says. "But I wouldn’t say we’re staffed in such a way that it’s a disaster."

Kerr and other state officials say it is misleading for groups such as Earthworks to extrapolate such doom and gloom pictures from raw inspection numbers, which don’t tell the whole story, considering that types of inspections vary broadly, as does geography and other on-the-ground factors between the states.

"It becomes very frustrating because we’re the ones doing (the work) and knowing what’s going on," says Chini, the regional supervisor in Ohio.

"What is enough inspected?" asks Kerr. "Who’s to say how many wells we should inspect?"

That’s a tough question to answer, because there are no federal guidelines on the issue. It’s up to each state to decide.

In Colorado, Kerr says he’d like inspectors to check each well at least once every three years, but that’s a tough task. In Ohio, Chini says he hopes staffing upgrades will enable inspectors to make rounds at least once every two years.

In the meantime, both men know their agencies will be scrutinized by private environmental watchdogs. Though zealous environmentalists may sometimes add a level of stress to the job, they can also be helpful in identifying problems not yet on the radar, the officials say.

"There’s a lot of eyes out there," says Kerr, "and that’s an asset to inspectors."

By Jim Malewitz

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New Pa. plants to treat shale water

By Bob Downing Published: July 5, 2012

New Mexico-based Altela Inc. plans to open two water treatment plants in Clarion County and McKean County in Pennsylvania.

The plants will distill frack water using a non-conventional thermal distillation technology.

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Drilling dips in Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale region

By Bob Downing Published: July 5, 2012

The Philadelphia Energy Examiner reports that drilling is declining in the Marcellus shale region of Pennsylvania.

Permits issued, wells drilled and violations are all down significantly over the last year, due in large part to low prices for natural gas that have drillers anxious.Many are switching to oil and wet gases like ethane, butane and propane.

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Forbes: The potential of shale gas

By Bob Downing Published: July 5, 2012

Ohio features prominently in the article in Forbes on shale gas and its potential impacts on the American energy scene.

It is by Rebecca Bagley.

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Latest Ohio data on drilling permits

By Bob Downing Published: July 4, 2012

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management has approved a total of 281 permits to drill for natural gas in the Utica shale.

That total is through June 24, the latest state data available.

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New deal inked for closing Philadelphia refinery

By Bob Downing Published: July 4, 2012

Sunoco Inc. and a private equity firm, the Carlyle Group LP, have signed a joint-venture agreement to keeo the largest refinery on the East Coast in operation.

Both parties said the refinery was saved due development of the Marcellus and Utica shales in Penneslvania, Ohio, West Virginia and other states.

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Last-minute ban blocks drilling in SW Pennsylvania

By Bob Downing Published: July 4, 2012

A last-minute provision dropped into Pennsylvania's state budget bill and signed by Gov. Tom Corbett would block drilling for natural gas in parts of southeast Pennstlvania.

The provision would block drilling in the South Newark Basin that stretches from New Jersey through Bucks, Montgomery and Berks counties in Pennsylvania.

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Chesapeake has paid little in taxes over the years

By Bob Downing Published: July 4, 2012

According to Bloomberg News, Chesapeake Energy Cop. has made $5.5 billion in pre-tax profits since it was founded 23 years ago.

But the No. 2 producer of natural gas has paid income taxes on almost none of it.

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Chesapeake drilling tidbit

By Bob Downing Published: July 4, 2012

Boomberg News reports that Chesapeake Energy Corp. is successful on 99.6 percent of its wells in 2011.

It either struck natural gas or oil, the news agency reports.

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N.C. Republicans override governor's veto

By Bob Downing Published: July 3, 2012

North Carolina Republicans late Monday overrode Gov. Bev Perdue's veto of legislation that would permit hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

But the 1-vote margin came after Rep. Becky Carney, a Democrat, said she pushed the wrong button and accidentally voted to allow fracking.

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Anti-fracking moviemaker Josh Fox discusses new work

By Jim Mackinnon Published: July 2, 2012

The Huffington Post hosts a live interview with anti-fracking moviemaker Josh Fox on his new short piece, "The Sky Is Pink."

The short looks at the state of New York's fracking proposal.

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Ohio could make lots of money with signing bonuses

By Bob Downing Published: July 2, 2012

The Columbus Dispatch reported on Sunday that the state of Ohio could earn between $75 million and $183 million in signing bonuses if it leases land at 14 state parks and forests in eastern Ohio to drillers.

That estimate is based largely on two leases signed by the Muskingum Conservancy Watershed District.

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Ohio slips in oil-gas investment outlook, survey says

By Bob Downing Published: July 2, 2012

Ohio was No. 2 in oil-gas investment opportunities in a survey done last year by the Canada-based Fraser Institute.

It slipped to 14th this year due to tighter drilling rules and the likelihood of new severance taxes that are being pushed by Gov. John Kasich.

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Company drops plans for two injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: July 2, 2012

A Texas-based company has dropped its plan for two new injection wells in Mansfield.

Preferred Fluids Management has withdrawn its proposed site plan for 5,000-foot-deep injection wells from consideration by the city planning commission.

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North Carolina governor blocks fracking

By Bob Downing Published: July 2, 2012

On Sunday, North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue vetoed legislation that would have lifted a ban on hydraulic fracturing or fracking and paved the way for shale gas exploration.

Click here  to read the Reuters story.

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Natural gas, coal power plants tied in electricity production, a first for nation

By Jim Mackinnon Published: July 2, 2012

Natural gas and coal power plants provided the same amount of electricity to the nation in April, the Energy Information Agency reports.

That new EIA report is here.

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Israel's shale may have more energy reserves than Saudi Arabia, report says

By Jim Mackinnon Published: July 2, 2012

Israel may turn into an energy superpower because of vast shale reserves, according to the blog Via Meadia. (Via Meadia is by foreign policy expert Walter Russell Mead, James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College and the editor at large of  the American Interest magazine.)

Israel's energy reserves could rival or even surpass Saudi Arabia's, Via Meadia reports : "According to the World Energy Council, a leading global energy forum with organizations and affiliates in some 93 countries, Israel may have the third largest shale oil reserves in the world: something like 250 billion barrels."

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Shale gas production is softening, research report suggests

By Jim Mackinnon Published: July 2, 2012

Business Insider takes a look at a report  from Credit Suisse's Oil & Gas Exploration & Production research team that suggests shale gas production has started to slow down in the United States.

To read the story, go here

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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.