When she was young and would vacation at her family farm in late summers before heading back to school, Denise Dennis didn't think it was a big deal. She was just "going up country" to visit her grandparents. But, as she later learned, it was, and is, a big deal. Initially purchased by Prince Perkins in 1793, and is the oldest surviving farm founded by free Blacks in the state. It's located approximately 20 miles north of Scranton, Pa. On Feb. 26 Dennis was the guest of honor at the African American History Museum event sponsored by members of the Marcellus Shale Coalition.
Abundant natural gas in Pennsylvania's northern tier counties means growth for the pipelines that take it to market. Energy infrastructure company Williams is planning an expansion of its Transco pipeline in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to add capacity for enough natural gas to serve about 2 million homes. The interstate transmission pipeline, constructed in the 1950s and 1960s, supplies natural gas to major Eastern Seaboard markets including New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
State conservation officials plan to tap more revenue from oil and gas drilling royalties and timber sales to start to tackle a backlog of $1 billion in infrastructure repairs in the state-owned parks and forests. Calling his agency's budget proposal for fiscal 2013-14 "fundamentally lean," Richard Allan, secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday about plans to draw additional money from the separate Oil and Gas Fund to undertake larger-scale repair projects as well as pay for increased personnel costs.
Despite the lower natural gas prices, railroads operating in the Marcellus and Utica shale areas continue to enjoy a productive year. Rail yards are busy transporting shale development supplies such as frac sand, pipe, chemicals and other commodities. In some areas, water is also being transported by rail. In southwestern Pennsylvania and in West Virginia, rail yards have seen an increase of business from 2011.
Five southwestern Pennsylvania counties will receive $272,000 in state grants funded by Marcellus shale drilling fees to promote local conservation efforts.
The free market is at odds in the debate to export more of America's vast natural gas resources - energy officials support an expansion of the overseas market but some manufacturing executives object saying it would drive up prices and eliminate jobs. Dow Chemical is leading the effort to convince Congress and the Obama administration to show restraint in approving more than a dozen requests to export natural gas in a liquefied state.
As of late, the local Grange Hall in this rural corner of Washington County has been a gathering spot for showers, birthday parties and Boy Scouts. But on a recent rainy Wednesday evening, cars and trucks filled the lot and parked along the road in front of the hall as - even if for just one night - the Burgettstown Grange Hall was once again used for its first-intended purpose.
The West Princess Street bridge over the Codorus Creek in York City could be replaced using the money paid to the state by natural gas drillers. It's a county bridge, and the York County Commissioners recently voted to include it on a list of approved projects to be funded through Marcellus Shale Legacy funds.
Pennsylvania's Marcellus and other shale wells produced more than 2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2012, continuing a trend of production growth despite fewer drilling rigs in the field. New production data reported by natural gas drilling companies and released by the state Department of Environmental Protection on Tuesday showed that 1.1 trillion cubic feet of gas flowed from unconventional wells in the state during the second half of 2012.
Geisinger Health System has received a $1 million grant from a Sunbury foundation to help it underwrite its study into the potential health impact of Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling. "Geisinger's research into the health impacts of natural gas drilling fits perfectly with our mission and we are proud to support this important initiative," said Michael Apfelbaum, co-trustee of the Degenstein Foundation.