Oil & Gas

The Catholic Committee of Appalachia just published a pastoral letter. It’s the third of its kind. Forty years ago the first was written and acclaimed as “one of the most significant statements to emerge from the U.S. Catholic Church,” according to the West Virginia Encyclopedia.


Fracking, Fluid
Baker Hughes

  Fayette County Commission voted unanimously to pass an ordinance that bans dumping, storing, or injecting oil and gas waste anywhere in the county. It's the first ordinance of it's kind in West Virginia. The ordinance also allows citizens to enforce penalties in civil and criminal court.

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

Fayette County Commission will meet next week to consider banning the storage, disposal, or use of oil and natural gas waste. 

Community members will present a petition with 5,000 hand-written signatures that support what would be the first county-wide ban on oil and gas waste in West Virginia. It will be the second and final reading of the ordinance. If passed, violations will be punishable by civil and criminal penalties.

natural gas, fracking
wikimedia

In a dramatic turn of events last year at the statehouse, a bill died on a tie vote during the last night of the 2015 legislative session. The issue was whether companies should be allowed to force mineral owners to sell their gas if the majority of their neighbors have already agreed to sell. Forced pooling. The topic resurfaced during interim meetings last month and is expected to be a priority this legislative session.


Drill cuttings dumped at WV 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 WV 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. 

artwork by Beth Crowder

This week plans for a new, almost $300 million wastewater facility were shared for the first time with community members in Doddridge County. Antero Resources announced intentions earlier this summer to build the facility, which will process and recycle wastewater produced from its natural gas drilling operations in the region.


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)

Eminent domain is when a government entity takes over private property for public use. A piece of legislation is forming that would essentially allow that to happen in the northern gas fields of West Virginia. Only the government entity is allowing private industry to take over property, which is in gas form, 6,000 feet below the surface. And it won’t benefit the public directly, unless you count severance taxes.

Bill Hughes

The federal Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new rule this week that would regulate methane gas pollution in the oil and gas industry. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and the Obama administration wants to see emissions cut in half over the next decade.


Morgantown Industrial Park
Northeast Natural Energy

Drilling is set to begin in West Virginia in what is being billed as the first long-term field study of shale drilling for natural gas.

Northeast Natural Energy of Charleston is scheduled to drill Friday in Morgantown.


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.


Manchin Works to Lift U.S. Oil Export Ban

May 20, 2015
U.S. Energy Information Adminstration

U.S. Senators want to introduce a bill that will help lift the U.S oil export ban

The export ban on US oil currently compromises American competitiveness and security by restricting the ability of American crude oil producers to export and sell their products outside of our national border, said U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and several of his companions on the Hill.

  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.


Chris Jackson/The Register-Herald / The Register Herald

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection hosted a public hearing about two proposed waste permits in Fayette County Tuesday night. All but one of about 30 people who who spoke at the hearing opposed the permit.

Danny Webb, the owner of the waste site, stayed for the first part of the hearing, but did not speak publicly.

Wikimedia Commons

  When we hear about the danger of dust exposure, we are usually talking about coal dust underground, or silica dust. But that’s not the only dust that can make people sick. Apparently almost any dust can, if it’s fine enough.


Glynis Board / WVPB

When natural gas drillers use extreme pressures to drill and crack rocks thousands of feet underground - when they frack for natural gas, for example - sometimes nearby conventional gas wells will suddenly see production double, or triple. 

The first woman to represent West Virginia in the U.S. Senate gave her inaugural floor speech today Tuesday, March 10. Energy policy was a big part of Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito’s address. 

Capito said she will focus on improving the state’s roads, broadband access and health care for veterans and children during her time in the Senate. But during her 15-minute speech, U.S. energy policy became a real point of emphasis. 

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC sent out letters threatening legal action against property owners who refused access to their land for surveying. Groups opposed to the pipeline believe there is no basis for legal action. The issue appears far from black and white.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline, or MVP, is a proposed 42-inch diameter, 330-mile line that would connect hydraulic fracturing operations in West Virginia to a transmission pipeline in Virginia. EQT and NextEra Energy are partnering on the project.

U.S. Geological Survey

The U.S. Geological Survey says more data and research are necessary to best understand the potential risks to water quality in areas with unconventional oil and gas development.

Adam Zyglis / The Buffalo News

  A new report released in the wake of New York State's decision to ban the horizontal gas drilling process known as fracking analyzes more than 100 scientific studies that have been approved and distributed by oil and gas industry representatives.


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