Fracking

Pipeline ready for construction.
Seth Perlman / Associated Press

A proposed natural gas pipeline that would cross West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina would have adverse environmental impacts, but most could be avoided, minimized or mitigated, according to an analysis federal regulators released this week.

Residual waste truck in Pennsylvania.
Iris Marie Bloom

Fayette County commissioners are appealing a federal court ruling that rendered the West Virginia county's ban on fracking waste disposal invalid.

The Register-Herald in Beckley reports that Appalachian Mountain Advocates filed the notice of appeal on behalf of the commission with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week.

  

 On this West Virginia Morning, we hear a collaborative, investigative story on issues related to hydraulic fracturing from Glynis Board, the Center for Public Integrity and the new regional journalism collaborative, Ohio Valley ReSource. We'll also hear from Ohio Valley ReSource's managing editor Jeff Young about the project, what they hope to accomplish and how they'll get there.

Federal Court Strikes Down Fayette Frack Waste Ban

Jun 13, 2016
Fayette County Courthouse
A.E. Crane, National Scenic Byways Online

A federal judge has ruled that the Fayette County Commission does not have the right to ban frack waste. Last Friday, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia ruled in favor of EQT, a petroleum and gas corporation.

natural gas, fracking
wikimedia

 Those involved in a West Virginia University fracking project are praising its success after the first year.

The Exponent Telegram reports WVU began the Marcellus Shale Energy Environmental Laboratory project last June.

On this West Virginia Morning, we take a look at the Republican presidential candidates and their stances on fracking and the environment. We also get a report from Clark Davis about a soon-to-be-abandoned CSX building in Huntington and some of the plans for the space.

On this West Virginia Morning ,we take a look at a Supreme Court ruling on campaign financing and Reid Frazier brings us a report on the current stances of the democratic presidential candidates.

Morgantown Industrial Park
Northeast Natural Energy

A team of independent science advisers to the Environmental Protection Agency are criticizing a report that studied the effects of hydraulic fracturing practices on drinking water. The Science Board Advisers are seeking clarification.

natural gas, fracking
wikimedia

West Virginia has received $18 million so far from leases granted to state officials to drill for oil and natural gas below state wildlife management areas and waterways, including beneath the Ohio River.

But as natural gas prices stay low, state officials say they've only received up-front checks so far, and no royalties for unearthing the resources from the deep shale deposits. No companies with state leases have begun extracting gas, as far as state Department of Commerce officials know.

Drill cuttings dumped at West Virginia landfill.
Bill Hughes

There are lots of federal regulations governing what businesses can legally dump into water, the ground, or release into the air. But the gas industry is getting around a lot of those regulations. The oil and gas industry enjoys exemptions from seven federal laws, including one that is supposed to protect human health from the hazards of waste disposal. Other states have passed their own laws regulating this waste to compensate. But it’s a looser system in West Virginia.

Drill cuttings dumped at West Virginia landfill.
Bill Hughes

In the growing wake of the natural gas boom, West Virginia has been trying to figure out what exactly to do with waste generated by the oil and gas industry. 

Fracking, Fluid
Baker Hughes

Antero Resources, an oil and gas company that operates in north central West Virginia, has announced intentions to build a wastewater treatment complex in Doddridge County to support its hydraulic fracturing efforts.

Antero signed an agreement with Veolia Water Technologies to build the facility. The company anticipates the complex with be able to treat 60,000 barrels of water per day.

The $275 million facility located off of Route 50 on Gum Run Rd. will allow Antero to clean flowback water used in the fracking process enough that it can be reused on other wells rather than disposed of in an injection well.

Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marcellus Shale Formation for natural gas, from Pennsylvania Route 118 in eastern Moreland Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA
Ruhrfisch [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)

The West Virginia Royalty Owner’s Association will begin a round of public meetings across the state next week to talk about a piece of controversial legislation.

The meetings held across West Virginia will focus on forced pooling or lease unitization. It’s a practice in the natural gas industry where gas companies parcel of groups of land in an attempt to drill a well.

Under current state law, if a royalty owner refuses to sell their rights to the company, it can’t drill the gas well, but lawmakers attempted to change that during the last legislative session. 

Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marcellus Shale Formation for natural gas, from Pennsylvania Route 118 in eastern Moreland Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA
Ruhrfisch [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)

New statistics show that production in the Northern Panhandle natural gas fields has nearly tripled in two years.

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register reports that West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey statistics show drillers pumped nearly three times as much natural gas in the region during 2014 compared to 2012. 

en.wikipedia.org

State regulators are investigating a pipeline fire at a drilling pad in Tyler County.

The fire occurred early Friday at Jay Bee Oil & Gas' Gorby Marcellus Shale drilling pad in the Big Run area.

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Jake Glance says there was a rupture in the natural gas pipeline on the pad. He tells The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register that the fire burned for about an hour before it was extinguished.

University of Kentucky Geological Survey

Members of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition gathered the public Monday night in Westmoreland, near Huntington, to discuss the Rogersville Shale.

The forum was designed to inform the public of a newly discovered shale formation, the Rogersville Shale. The shale is concentrated in Calhoun, Roane, Jackson, Kanawha, Putnam, Lincoln, Wayne and Cabell counties in West Virginia, but also extends into Kentucky. Dianne Bady is with the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition.

Fracking, Fluid
Baker Hughes

Despite statements from industry officials and political leaders, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials say their new study of the nation's natural gas boom should not be described as proof the nation's water supplies are safe from hydraulic fracturing.

The Charleston Gazette reports the EPA's science adviser and deputy administrator Thomas A. Burke says the message of the report is that vulnerabilities in the water have been identified and they are important to know about and address to keep risks as low as possible.

Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marcellus Shale Formation for natural gas, from Pennsylvania Route 118 in eastern Moreland Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA
Ruhrfisch [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)

The federal Environmental Protection Agency issued a report this week pertaining to the possible effects of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water. The report comes after several years of analyzing literature and research, but findings were largely inconclusive.


  A new study of a radioactive, carcinogenic gas has grabbed the attention of news outlets and both pro and anti-fracking groups alike. The study published earlier this month says increases of radon gas in people’s homes in Pennsylvania coincide with the horizontal drilling boom. Some geological researchers in the region are skeptical while others aren’t at all surprised.


Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marcellus Shale Formation for natural gas, from Pennsylvania Route 118 in eastern Moreland Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA
Ruhrfisch [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)

Despite recent announcements of layoffs in the industry, the state is reporting severance tax incomes from oil and gas have doubled since 2013.

A review by the West Virginia Department of Tax and Revenue and the State Treasurer’s Office shows companies paid $188.3 million in severance taxes in 2014. That’s compared to the $79.2 million collected in 2013.

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