Study says groundwater OK

New research suggests drinking water supplies in Pennsylvania have shown resilience in the face of a drilling boom that has turned swaths of countryside into a major production zone for natural gas.

Energy companies have drilled more than 11,000 wells since arriving en masse in 2008, making Pennsylvania the nation’s No. 2 gas-producing state after Texas. Residents who live near the gas wells, along with environmental groups and some scientists, have long worried about air and water pollution.

Two new studies that looked at groundwater chemistry did not find much of an impact from horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — the techniques that allow energy companies to extract huge volumes of oil and gas from shale rock deep underground. The results suggest that, as a whole, groundwater supplies appear to have held their own against the energy industry’s exploitation of the Marcellus Shale, a rock layer more than a mile underground that holds the nation’s largest reservoir of natural gas.


Stocks finish mixed

U.S. stocks shrugged off early losses and wound up with a mixed finish Monday. Household goods companies took some of the worst losses as the S&P 500 index fell for the third time in four days.

The S&P 500 dropped as much as 22 points early on. Consumer products and packaged foods companies stumbled and drugmakers and distributors fell, as did health insurers.

That came after indexes in Europe and Asia fell. German stocks took steep losses as investors wondered if a dispute over migrants could eventually threaten the German government.

But stocks gradually recovered most of their losses as energy companies rose along with oil prices, and technology companies managed to make some gains as well. Smaller and more U.S.-focused companies climbed higher. That continued a pattern that has persisted for more than three months.

It’s been a turbulent few months for stocks, but the benchmark S&P 500 is a bit higher than it was when international trade tensions started to weigh on the market in late February. TECHNOLOGY

Face recognition fight

Some Amazon company investors are siding with privacy and civil rights advocates who are urging the tech giant to halt a powerful face recognition tool used by police.

The American Civil Liberties Union is spearheading the effort against Amazon’s Rekognition product, delivering to its Seattle headquarters Monday a petition with 152,000 signatures telling the company to “cancel this order.”

They’re asking Amazon to stop marketing Rekognition to government agencies because of privacy issues they say can be used to discriminate against minorities.

A group of 19 investment managing companies including Harrington Investments Inc. and Walden Asset Management also sounded the alarm on the tool, which they say could open the company up to lawsuits.

Amazon says it can be used for fighting human trafficking and finding lost children.


Trump Tower questioned

The Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago is one of the largest users of water from the Chicago River, but records show it has never followed state rules governing the protection of the river’s fish.

State records indicate that the skyscraper siphons nearly 20 million gallons a day for its cooling systems before pumping water back into the river at up to 35 degrees hotter, the Chicago Tribune reported. State and federal regulations limit the number of fish that can be trapped or killed during water intake processes.

The records show that of the nearly one dozen high-rise buildings using the river for cooling water, Trump Tower is the only one that has failed to document it followed requirements. Officials also failed to study fish killed by the complex. Trump Tower officials didn’t reply to the Tribune’s request for comment.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.