Friday, February 14, 2014

Feb. 17 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The Feb. 17 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Click Here to print entire Digest.

Gov. Corbett’s Statement On Greene County Natural Gas Well Explosion

Gov. Corbett received an update Friday from the Department of Environmental Protection on the status of the gas well fire in Greene County that started on Tuesday and subsequently released the following statement:
“Our focus right now is making sure workers and first responders are safe, and we are concerned about the potential loss of life,” said Corbett.  "Yesterday, I directed Secretary of Department of Environmental Protection Chris Abruzzo and other executive level DEP staff to get to the site and assist authorities in managing this incident. State authorities have also been in touch with the company to work together and resolve immediate needs.  I have also directed Secretary Abruzzo to work with the appropriate state, county and local authorities and create a multi-agency investigation after this incident concludes. We need to determine exactly what happened and how we can learn from it.”
The governor reiterated his commitment to continuing to work with the General Assembly on enhancing safety standards for both residents and workers.  In 2012, Gov. Corbett signed Act 9, the Unconventional Well 911 Emergency Response Act. This Act requires operators to maintain a unique GPS coordinate address at each well site, as well as develop an emergency response plan to be kept on file with DEP, PEMA and the county emergency management agency.
Crude Oil/Propane Train Derailment
On Thursday 21 Norfolk Southern rail cars hauling propane gas and Canadian crude oil derailed from at least 100 more tank cars in Vandergrift, Westmoreland County.  About 3,500 gallons of crude oil leaked from damaged cars.

Sen. Yaw, Corbett Ask AG To Investigate Chesapeake Energy Royalty Practices

The Rocket-Courier in Wyalusing reported Thursday Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, has sent a formal request to Attorney General Kathleen Kane asking for an official inquiry into post-production cost deductions by natural gas producer Chesapeake Energy.
On Friday, Gov. Corbett sent a letter to Attorney General Kane making a similar request.
“Over the past several months, my office has received numerous complaints from landowners frustrated over the business practices of Chesapeake Energy,” Sen. Yaw said.  “Their primary complaint involves the deduction of what are believed to be excessive post-production costs.  I feel that the Attorney General is the appropriate third party entity to officially review these claims from a consumer protection aspect.”

Auditor General: Marcellus Audit Not Yet Done At DEP

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said during his Senate Appropriations budget hearing Tuesday he was still several weeks away from completing the fieldwork on his audit of the drilling-related water quality programs at DEP.
Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) noted Pennsylvania has no construction standards on private water wells and almost half of all Pennsylvanians use well water.
"There have been a lot of water problems in Pennsylvania for decades," General DePasquale said. "I don't know if people understood that. In recent years because of the additional drilling, I think there's been much more awareness by the public about the importance of water safety. The drillers have gotten blamed for some stuff that they had nothing to do with. I will tell you that we are seeing some evidence of that and I just will leave it at that right now."

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