The Passage of House Bill 1950…

I thought I’d highlight a few of the items that I find horrifying that passed with house bill 1950 during yesterdays vote. Municipalities will no longer be safe from drilling and the acceptable distances of drilling pads and compressor stations from homes or public spaces, such as schools, have been set or reduced. For example, a well pad can be placed as close as 300 feet away from your home.

Thanks to everyone who made an effort to halt this sort of legislative coddling of the natural gas industry.

If you want more info on this bill use this link.

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2011&sind=0&body=H&type=B&bn=1950

 

 

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Corbett Administration Cuts Funds

I heard this piece from State Impact PA (WITF/NPR) this morning on my drive to work. Corbett wants to make decisions about gas drilling based on facts, not emotional…and then his administration goes and cuts the funding for research that provides just the sort of facts he is talking about.

http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2012/01/18/changing-priorities-science-funding-slashed-under-corbett-administration/

 

Gas Truth of Central Pennsylvania Wants to Hear Your Voice!

Give Your Testimony to the
CITIZENS MARCELLUS SHALE COMMISSION

GAS TRUTH is giving support to the CITIZENS MARCELLUS SHALE COMMISSION that has been formed by 8 organizations that want to get out the truth about the effect of Shale Gas drilling on Pennsylvania.  Governor Corbett formed his Gas industry dominated “Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission”.  Now we have our opportunity to get the real truth out about Shale Gas.

The CITIZENS MARCELLUS SHALE COMMISSION is meeting in Hearings around the state.  On Monday, September 26th between 6 and 9 PM the COMMISSION will come to Harrisburg.

Attend the Harrisburg Hearing:

Monday, September 26, 2011
3 to 5 PM   AND    6 to 9 PM
Widener Law School   — Room A-180

Register to participate by calling

STEPHANIE FRANK at 717-255-7181

Marcellus Shale advisory board members rack up violations

Published: Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 12:00 AM     Updated: Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 6:38 A By DONALD GILLILAND, The Patriot-News

Eight of the drilling companies with representatives on the Pennsylvania governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission were cited with environmental violations last year. One of them led the state in violations. All of them contributed to Gov. Tom Corbett’s campaign.  That lends some ammunition to environmentalists’ complaint that Corbett populated the commission henhouse with industry foxes favored for their largesse rather than careful business practices. Industry officials say the representatives bring valuable expertise and talent to the panel.

According to an analysis of violations from the Department of Environmental Protection conducted by Clean Water Action, an environmental group, the companies represented on the governor’s commission accounted for 42 percent of all drilling violations last year — 514 out of a total 1,227.  “It’s pretty shocking,” said Myron Arnowitt, Clean Water Action’s state director. “Some of the very worst companies are on the commission.”  With 174 violations, Chief Oil & Gas led the state last year; Chief’s vice president of government and regulatory affairs, Terry Bossert, sits on the commission. Attempts to contact Chief for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful. Chesapeake Energy had the third-highest number of violations at 132; Chesapeake’s vice president of government relations, Dave Spigelmyer, was appointed to the commission, but chose to step off prior to the beginning of its work.  Other companies with violations serving on the commission are: East Resources (74 violations), Exxon Mobil (66), Range Resources (32), Chevron (16), EQT (15) and Consol (5).  The violations range from administrative oversights to illegal discharge of industrial waste. About one in six wells had problems.

“We’re concerned that some of the folks on the commission are really part of the problem, and we don’t see how they’re going to be part of the solution,” Arnowitt said.

Companies represented on the commission also donated more than $790,000 to Corbett’s campaign, he said. Ray Walker of Range Resources is serving on the commission as the representative of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group he chairs.

“The commission’s objective is to develop a comprehensive, strategic proposal for the responsible and environmentally sound development of Marcellus Shale,” said the coalition’s spokesman, Travis Windle. “Having subject matter experts — like Ray Walker and others — whose understanding of these highly technical issues is second to none only makes sense.” Range is also widely recognized as one of the most environmentally responsible of all the companies drilling in Pennsylvania. It was Range that told DEP the state’s regulations had to change or its rivers would be destroyed.
That’s not good enough for Clean Water Action.  It’s one of 17 groups that plans to stage a rally outside the commission’s meeting at the Rachel Carson Building in Harrisburg at noon today. The groups are calling for the governor to disband the commission unless citizens groups are given seats at the table. “The rally is really to address the fact — from our perspective — [that] the makeup of the commission is not what it should be to address the problems Marcellus Shale drilling has brought to the state,” Arnowitt said.

Arnowitt was part of an April 13 meeting between environmental groups and both the governor’s energy executive and the DEP secretary. The groups were denied seats on the board, but the officials asked them to supply specific ideas of how to incorporate more public comment into the proceedings. That has not been done. “We’re still putting together ideas,” Arnowitt said. “We’re happy to talk more about how to include more input, but that’s a separate question.”

That disparity between public and private action is telling, said Chad Saylor, spokesman for Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, who leads the commission.The proceedings are open and transparent, he said, and public comment is still welcome.


To read this article in full online, click here:

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/04/gas_panel_members_rack_up_viol.html



Corbett names pick for Conservation and Natural Resources

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

By Laura Olson and Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett announced his pick for one of two remaining cabinet posts this afternoon, selecting Richard J. Allan to head the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Mr. Allan, 57, has spent his career working in scrap recycling. His family operates Allan Industries, a metal recycling facility, in Wilkes-Barre, and he has run his own energy consulting firm since 2005. The Cumberland County resident also is an executive director for the PA Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, and serves on the board of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. He earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences and biology from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre.

The conservation agency has gained attention for its oversight of the growing number of Marcellus Shale gas wells being drilled on state forestland. Cuts in DCNR funding in recent budgets have shrunk the department’s resources for drilling oversight, state park operations and forest management.

“Richard Allan is a proven leader and commands a wealth of knowledge and experience in environmental and energy issues,” said Mr. Corbett in a news release. “I am confident that his abilities and background will be a tremendous benefit to DCNR, especially during this critical time in the agency’s history.”

Mr. Allan is the nephew of Pat Solano, former Luzerne County Republican chairman and a power broker in the state’s northeastern GOP politics. His wife, Patricia, was recently named policy director for the Department of Environmental Protection. He contributed $2,150 to Mr. Corbett during the last campaign cycle, according to the Department of State’s campaign finance database. He also was a member of Mr. Corbett’s transition team for energy and environmental issues.

The department has been run by Acting Secretary Cindy Dunn, formerly a deputy secretary for the agency, since the Corbett administration took over in January. The remaining department without an announced secretary is Labor and Industry. Mr. Corbett said earlier this month that he had made offers to candidates for both of the unfilled positions.

Below are comments from Anne with the Responsible Drilling Alliance (RDA). Definitely some things to think about and be concerned with.

COMMENTS:

I have highlighted parts of the above text in bold for emphasis.

Mr. Allan brings to the post of head of PA’s Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) an unusual background. Only time will tell whether one whose career has been in scrap recycling understands the depth and breadth of environmental issues facing Pennsylvania – particularly issues regarding deep shale natural gas extraction, processing and transmission.

Mr. Allan would be wise to listen carefully to DCNR’s experienced staffers, particularly its scientists and attorneys, whose training and daily work experience in environmental areas is more recent than Mr. Allan’s bachelors degree.

Besides the issue of adequate background for an understanding of PA’s environmental complexities, there are some other areas of potential concern. There’s the obvious one of whether campaign contributions, family and political connections fostered a political appointment. And, there are questions about Mr. Allan’s status within Allan Industries, including whether he continues to profit from this corporation and whether its activities are regulated by either DCNR, which he will head or PA DEP, where his wife holds a key position.

More important, however, is how this appointment may affect the relationships among regulatory agencies. When considering the long term and critically important connection that DCNR has had with PA’s Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP), some may question the appropriateness of having DCNR’s head coming from the same household as PA DEP’s Policy Director. Both agencies have working relationships in such crucial areas as permit reviews. With budget cuts and mandates for expedited permit reviews coming from the new Governor, one can only hope that concerns of potential conflicts of interest will not materialize and DCNR’s role will not be further marginalized than it has been to date from its severe budget cuts.

Anne

Governor’s Marcellus Commission Meeting Scheduled for March 25

Hi All,

A notice in the PA Bulletin announced the first meeting of the Governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission.

Scheduled for Friday, March 25, 2011, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., It will be held in Room 105 of the Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA.

This Commission, composed of State government leaders, industry and environmental experts, has been established by Governor Tom Corbett to insure the successful development of the natural gas industry and advise the Governor on pertinent issues, including possible legislative and regulatory changes.

The membership of the Commission is listed at:

http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/marcellus_shale_advisory_commission/20074

The agenda will soon be available.  Seating in the conference room is very limited. If you are attending, contact Chris Gray at (717) 783-8727 or chrgray@state.pa.us

There will be no reserved seating.  Public comment should be directed to the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, Office of the Governor, 225 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120, marcelluscommission@state.pa.us

A thank you goes out to Janet Hosey for the heads-up on this!