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Thursday, August 4, 2011

1987 EPA report resurfaces, Pittsburgh drilling referendum questioned

1987 EPA report resurfaces, Pittsburgh drilling referendum questioned 
by Laura Olson 8-4-11
Pittsburgh Post Gazette

A Washington, D.C.-based environmental group has unearthed a 1987 EPA report, which concluded that fracturing of a 4,000-foot-deep gas well in West Virginia contaminated shallower groundwater and private wells nearby, says the Post-Gazette's Don Hopey. That report is reigniting concerns from environmentalists, who note that industry officials have repeatedly said hydraulic fracturing has never contaminated groundwater. In response, the Marcellus Shale Coalition said the report looks at an isolated 30-year-old incident, and ignores the more recent track record.
Also in this morning's Post-Gazette: Joe Smydo says Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato has joined those casting doubts about the legality of Pittsburgh's proposed referendum to ban natural gas production. Onorato says county lawyers are reviewing the measure, which passed city council earlier this week in order to be added to the fall ballot. 
- A federal magistrate judge found Wednesday that EQT misled landowners in southwest Virginia during negotiations to drill for coalbed methane there, reports the Associated Press. The Pittsburgh-based company denies the allegations, and says they will appeal the decision.
- The state Department of Environmental Protection says drilling mud twice entered a northeastern Pennsylvania stream last week, following complications at a nearby wellpad, according to the AP
- And the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes about a family-owned farm market on the border of Allegheny and Washington counties, where a gas lease on their property has sparked criticism from long-time customers. 

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