Written by Jacqueline Schweichler - Education Programs Coordinator
The following information is an update of recent local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to shale gas.
Infrastructure: Pennsylvania Legislature Passes Bill to Extend PA One Call System
On October 24, 2017, Bill 242, or Pennsylvania’s Underground Utility Line Protection Law, was presented to the governor after passage by the House and Senate. The law would extend the use of the existing PA One Call System from the end of 2017 to the end of 2022. The law would also remove exemptions for natural resource drilling as well as public road right-of-ways. The purpose of the One Call System is to prevent damage to current underground infrastructure.
Consumer Benefits: Study Examines Impact of Shale Gas on PA Consumer Prices
On October 27, 2017, the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania releases a report analyzing the impact of the emergence of shale gas on Pennsylvania consumer pricing. According to the study, from 2007-2016, Pennsylvania consumers have experienced significantly lower natural gas commodity costs compared to national prices. Additionally, Pennsylvania consumers had lower electric power prices than the national average. Citygate and residential gas prices, however, remain similar to the average national prices. The report is entitled Insights into Consumer Pricing Impacts from Shale Gas (2007-2016) and a summary of the results can be found here.
Induced Seismicity: Texas Creates Public Website for Earthquake Monitoring
On October 17, 2017, the University of Texas (UT) announced that the public can now follow seismic activity in Texas in real time through an interactive website. Partnering with the Bureau of Economic Geology, UT created the the TexNet website to study the increase in earthquakes that have affected Texas in the past decade. According to UT, Texas has experienced an increased numbers of earthquakes in the Permian Basin region, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and south-central Texas. The TexNet system includes 22 permanent monitoring stations and 40 portable seismic stations.
Pipelines: State Department Grants Permit to Enbridge for International Pipeline Capacity Increase
On October 13, 2017, the U.S. State Department issued a presidential permit to Enbridge Energy LP for their pipeline facilities located at the border of the United States and Canada. The permit will allow the company to increase their current infrastructure of the Line 67 Alberta Clipper pipeline to a 36-inch pipeline that will transport almost 900,000 barrels of heavy crude oil from Pembina County, North Dakota. According to Oil & Gas Journal, Enbridge has been using their Line 3 system while awaiting permitting for the Alberta Clipper capacity increase.
National Policy: EPA Releases Report on the Impact of Agency Regulation on Energy Resources
On October 24, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Final Report on Review of Agency Actions that Potentially Burden the Safe, Efficient Development of Domestic Energy Resources Under Executive Order 13783. The report was initiated after an executive order issued in March 2017 that demanded a decrease in agency regulations. The EPA’s report establishes a Task Force to review and simplify application and permitting processes. The EPA also intends to streamline air quality standards and evaluate the effect of EPA regulations on employment.
Human Health: American Chemical Society Finds that Toxicity From Shale Electricity is Lower than Coal
On October 10, 2017, the American Chemical Society published a study examining the human toxicity impact (HTI) of electricity produced from shale gas compared to the electricity produced from coal. The study found that the HTI of shale produced electricity is much lower than that of coal. The study is called Comparative Human Toxicity Impact of Electricity Produced from Shale Gas and Coal and can be found in the journal of Environmental Science and Technology.
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See our Global Shale Law Compendium and this week’s article, Shale Governance in New England States. (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, & Vermont)
Check out this week’s Shale Law in the Spotlight: Recent Litigation Relating to Wastewater Injection Well Prohibition in Grant Township
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