Senate Environmental Committee approves two bills

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, chaired by Senator Gene Yaw (R-23), approved two bills on Tuesday. The first, Senate Bill 411, would limit the treatment liability of entities that choose to utilize acid mine water (AMD) for hydraulic fracturing of oil/gas wells, or other industrial uses.



Shell Chemical still deciding on plans for Pennsylvania feedstock plant

Officials with Shell Chemical LP are still trying to decide if they want to access the shale gas boom and build a plastic feedstock plant in western Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh-based Horsehead Corp., the owner of the parcel of land where Shell has proposed the new plant, announced on Dec. 26 that it has given Shell a six-month extension for Shell to evaluate the site in Monaca, Pa.



Drilling boom feeds need for flights between Pittsburgh and small airports

The boom in drilling for Marcellus shale natural gas is fueling a demand for more flights between Pennsylvania's smaller airports and Pittsburgh International Airport, officials said Tuesday. "The Marcellus shale is the driving force behind the (commuter) service. We think it will be a viable service," said Gabe Monzo, executive director of the Westmoreland County Airport Authority and chairman of the Pennsylvania Air Service Committee.



Mercaptans: The smell of success for the natural gas boom

Before fracking became a household word and US natural gas production was skyrocketing, most of what people knew about natural gas was its smell. That funky, nose-wrinkling smell, so often described as a rotten egg smell, is distinctive but isn't natural to gas, as most who keep up with energy markets know. The smell is from odorants, often chemical compounds called mercaptans, that is added to naturally odorless gas for safety.



DEP calculates health benefits of reduced air pollution; methodology questioned

Pennsylvania's air quality improvement resulted in $14 billion to $37 billion in annual public health benefits, in part because of a shift to more natural gas power generation, state environmental officials said on Tuesday. Environmental groups immediately questioned the figures.



RETTEW Receives Award for Transportation Project

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania (ACECPA) presented RETTEW with a Diamond Award Certificate for its Chesapeake Energy Corp. Roadway Restoration and Upgrade Program, part of its annual Diamond Awards for Engineering Excellence competition.



The State Of Our Energy Union Is Stronger Than In 40 Years

As President Obama gives tonight the State of the Union Address, the state of our energy union is stronger than anytime in 40 years. America's domestic energy resources are bountiful, diverse, cleaner, and affordable. Just consider these 10 energy facts:



New 'certification' group to look closely at shale gas drillers

Environmental groups and drilling companies are forming a first-of-its kind organization to scrutinize shale gas drillers' practices in Appalachia, but at least one industry supporter won't participate. The Environmental Defense Fund, PennFuture, The Heinz Endowments, EQT and Shell are among collaborators in an organization to certify which drillers meet the best industry standards. Next month, the group will publicly start the Institute for Gas Drilling Excellence, officials said. How it will be funded isn't clear.



State DEP moving closer to finalizing oil and gas rules

State environmental regulators are moving closer to a major revision of Pennsylvania's oil and gas rules to address surface impacts caused by the development of pipelines, pits, impoundments and well sites. The Department of Environmental Protection recently translated conceptual changes it outlined last year into much more precise draft rulemaking language that will be discussed at an advisory board meeting next week. The hope is to adopt the finalized rules by next winter.



Environmental chief defends impact fee choices

Several local communities that do not contain drilling sites have seen a rise in truck traffic associated with natural gas drilling. Many people feel that damages caused by the traffic was inadequately compensated by funding associated with impact fee allotments.