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.



Company looking to survey Aliquippa for natural gas drilling

A Monaca company is interested in conducting a seismic survey of public property in Aliquippa for potential natural gas drilling.



Trout Unlimited Testing for Water Quality in PA's Marcellus Region

Trout Unlimited (TU) is one of several organizations that are actively monitoring water quality in Pennsylvania's rivers and streams. Currently, TU is collecting data in 99 different watersheds throughout the Commonwealth in an effort to help understand potential impacts of shale gas drilling and related industries on Pennsylvania's waterways.



Natural gas-fueled power plant in Lawrence County gets site approval

A $750 million plant in Lawrence County, powered by Marcellus shale gas, could begin generating electicity by 2016, officials said. LS Power Development LLC received North Beaver supervisors' approval this week to build a 900-megawatt plant along the Mahoning River at the site of a former American Cyanamid Co. explosives manufacturing plant. Construction could begin early next year.



Company adapts for shale gas industry

A local hospitality company has formed a new division to further its involvement in the shale gas industry.



Webinar to highlight best shale gas extraction conservation practices

The best conservation practices for shale-gas extraction will be the focus of a free, Web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension at 1 p.m. on Feb. 21.



Allegheny County reaches $500 million deal for airport drilling

Consol Energy Inc. will pay an estimated $500 million over the next 20 years for the right to drill for shale gas on land surrounding Pittsburgh International Airport.



Senate approves Yaw division order bill

Legislation requiring natural gas companies operating in Pennsylvania to standardize all deductions on royalty check payment stubs unanimously passed the state Senate on Tuesday, according to Senator Gene Yaw (R-23). Sponsored by Yaw, Senate Bill 259 would require companies producing natural gas to show on each royalty check stub, attachment to a payment form, or other remittance advice a detailed itemization of all royalty deductions from royalties paid to a leaseholder.