Here are a few news items that came out in the last week while I was on vacation and out of the country:
1. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is looking into allegations of fraud by Chesapeake Energy Corp., which may have led to investment lossses for Ohio pension funds.
He disclosed his review in a letter to Ohio Citizen Action, an environmental advocacy group that wrote to DeWine in early June about aspects of Chesapeake's conduct.
Chesapeake is the No. 1 player in Ohio's Uitca shale. It has been hurt by low prices for natural gas.
2. Hydraulic fracturing for shale gas poses little risk of earthquakes, according to a new study by the National Reserach Council on behalf of the national Academies of Science and Engineering.
But the report says that deeper injection wells used to get rid of drilling wastes pose a higher earthquake risk.
An injection well near Youngstown is believed to have triggered 13 small quakes in eastern Ohio over 13 months. That well has been shut down.
The study was done by an 11-member team of academic geologists and engineers for Congress at the request of the U.S. Department of Energy.
3. Chesapeake Energy reportedly paid $1.6 million to three landowners in Bradford County, Pa., to settle claims that drilling contaminated drinking water, according to Marcellus Drilling News.
The company paid the landowners in Wyalusing.
The families said they intend to move out.
An additional 30 families are still involved in negotiations with the company.
4. Businesses in Ohio's Muskingum County have banding together to form a coalition to market themselves to the Utica shale drilling industry.
The new group with 28 member companies is called the Muskingum Oil and Gas Coalition.
The effort is backed by the Zanesville-Muskingum County Chamber of Commerce.
5. According to a new survey, more than seven out of 10 New York state voters think Gov. Andrew Cuomo should "wait for all the necessary health and environmental studies to be completed first before opening the state to fracking."
That position was supported by 72 percent of those surveyed, said the Public Policy Polling survey.
New York has had a moratorium on fracking for four years. But it may soon be lifted.
6. A non-profit group in New York is disputing an industry-backed analysis that the federal government had overestimated the volume of methane emissions from natural gas drilling.
Physicians Scientists and Engineers, based in Ithica, disagrees with the previously reported findings of the powerful American Petroleum Institute and the American Natural Gas Alliance.
Those groups said natural gas emissions are 50 percent lower than what had been estimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The New York group said the industry analysis was flawed and does not hold up to close review.
That is disputed by the industry.