Monday, October 31, 2016

Shale Gas Weekly Review - October 31, 2016

PA Court Dismisses Appeal in Well Water Contamination Case
On October 26, 2016, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the PA Environmental Hearing Board’s decision to dismiss Loren Kiskadden’s appeal. (Kiskadden v. Pennsylvania DEP 1167 c.d. 2015)  Kiskadden originally filed a complaint with the DEP alleging that the nearby Yeager Site was the cause of contamination in his water well. The Yeager Site is “a centralized impoundment for the storage of gas well related waters, a drill cuttings pit, and a mud processing pit, as well as three unconventional gas wells…” and is owned by Range Resources-Appalachia, LLC. The court concluded that the Board’s findings were “supported by substantial evidence” and Kiskadden did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the water contamination was caused by the Yeager Site.

Hearing Held on New Pennsylvania Shale Gas Drilling Regulations
On October 26, 2016, the Marcellus Shale Coalition and the PA Department of Environmental Protection argued in front of a Commonwealth Court judge in regards to the new drilling regulations that went into effect October 8th. (25 PA. CODE CHS. 78 AND 78a) According to PowerSource, the Marcellus Shale Coalition argued that the regulations “inherently violate current law and cause immediate harm to its members…” Meanwhile, DEP deputy secretary Scott Perry testified to the “length and depth of the process” used to create the new regulations.

DEP Announces Civil Penalty against JKLM Energy for Water Contamination
On October 24, 2016, the PA Department of Environmental Protection announced a $472,317 civil penalty against JKLM Energy for damage caused in Potter County. While drilling a natural gas well in September, the drill bit became stuck and JKLM used an unapproved lubricant in attempt to retrieve the drill bit. The unapproved lubricant migrated to groundwater sources, included six private water wells. JKLM will also pay $100,000 for a Community Environmental project that will monitor Potter County public water supplies.

US Appeals Court Affirms District Court’s Denial of Drilling Injunction
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit issued an opinion October 27, 2016, affirming the district court’s decision to allow for continued oil and gas permitting in the Chaco Canyon area. Several environmental groups filed suit in March 2015 under the National Environmental Policy Act. The district court denied the groups’ motion for preliminary injunction, holding that “Plaintiffs were not likely to succeed on the merits of their claims...” The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision holding that the lower court did not abuse their discretion in denying the injunction.

New Brief Deadline Schedule for Clean Air Act Case
On October 25, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a revised schedule for Murray Energy Corp. v. U.S. EPA brief deadlines, according to Greenwire. The case was filed as an objection to the coal-fired power plant emission standards in the EPA’s Clean Air Act. Initial proof briefs on the merits must be submitted by Murray Energy Corp. on or before November 1st. The EPA and other responding agencies will have until January 18 to submit their proof brief in response.

New Power Plant in Bradford County to Use Marcellus Gas
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held October 27, 2016, for the new Panda Liberty Power Plant. The new power plant is unique because it is the first power plant in Pennsylvania that will be fueled directly with gas from the Marcellus shale formation.  Located in Bradford County, the 829 Megawatt plant will use air rather than water to keep cool, making it more energy efficient.

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Written by Jacqueline Schweichler - Education Programs Coordinator

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