Sunday, May 23, 2010

Firms find more gas beyond the Marcellus field Utica - Purcell Limestone

This is not my work but a great article
Read the original at

By Andrew Maykuth
Inquirer Staff Writer
As big as the Marcellus Shale gas bonanza has become, it's not the only Pennsylvania geologic formation yielding new and unexpected quantities of natural gas.

Two exploration companies have reported promising discoveries in rock formations layered around the Marcellus like a geologic parfait. Those finds raise the prospect of even more drilling in a state where the gas boom has generated ardent economic hopes as well as passionate environmental fears.
Range Resources Corp., a Texas company that pioneered Marcellus development in 2003, reported to analysts last month that it had completed horizontal test wells in shale formations above and below the mile-deep Marcellus. Range says the two formations contain significant commercial quantities of natural gas.
"The Marcellus has gotten a lot of great research and a lot of great results, and you might think it's the only shale play up here of any magnitude," William Zagorski, Range vice president of geology in Appalachia, said in an interview Friday.
But Zagorski said two new shale formations - the Utica Shale deeper below the surface and the shallower Upper Devonian Shale - were "in the same ballpark" as the Marcellus.

Though both lie under large stretches of the eastern United States - the Utica is being developed in Quebec - Range officials say the Utica Shale appears to be most promising in Western Pennsylvania, and the Upper Devonian Shale in southwestern Pennsylvania and parts of West Virginia. Drilling is going on in both areas, including some directed at the Marcellus.
Meanwhile, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., a Houston company, disclosed to analysts last year that it had drilled a successful horizontal well through the Purcell Limestone in its Marcellus acreage in Susquehanna County north of Scranton.
The Purcell Limestone is an intermediate stratum sandwiched between two layers of the Marcellus Shale. Before drilling the Purcell well, Cabot's activity was exclusively confined to the richer, lower Marcellus.
The new well, which produced an impressive 7.3 million cubic feet of gas per day over 30 days, allowed Cabot to access the upper Marcellus Shale without impairing production from its deeper wells, Dan O. Dinges, Cabot's chief executive officer, told analysts in a February conference call.
With the new results, Cabot and other operators in Pennsylvania's northern tier might multiply production from their existing acreage by running pairs of horizontal wells at different depths.

That would be good news for owners of mineral rights, as well as the industry, whose fuel is used primarily to generate electricity and heat homes.

"While still early, this revelation may suggest an increase in the resource potential of our acreage," Dinges said, according to a Bloomberg L.P. transcript of the session. "Additional testing is obviously planned in the future."

Gas operators declined to offer many specifics about the test wells for competitive reasons.
"There's tremendous amounts of gas in place and potentially a large amount of recoverable gas there," John H. Pinkerton, Range's chief executive, told analysts. "So we'll be coy there."
Terry Engelder, a Pennsylvania State University geosciences professor, said the new discoveries were unsurprising.
"The star of the show so far has been the lower Marcellus, but there are other shales out there," said Engelder, whose 2008 estimates of the Marcellus set the stage for the boom. "Gas is prolific in the entire Appalachian basin."
Though drillers have exploited pockets of natural gas from several Pennsylvania formations for 150 years, the current activity is different in scale and approach.

Using horizontal-drilling techniques, operators now can capture gas under large stretches of acreage with multiple wells drilled from a single location. But the wells must be hydraulically fractured - a onetime injection of high-pressure fluid and sand that breaks up the shale to unlock gas molecules.

The extraction technology and frenzied drilling activity have generated protests. The Environment Protection Agency is studying hydraulic fracturing, and Pennsylvania has proposed stricter regulations on drilling and wastewater disposal to address environmental concerns.
Nevertheless, unconventional shale-gas extraction is shaking up the energy world. From Texas to Michigan - and in Eastern Europe and China - vast new reserves of gas entombed in shale has become economically accessible. Natural gas now trades at about one-third the price of a comparable unit of petroleum. A few years ago they cost about the same.

The Marcellus, considered the largest shale reserve in America, stretches from New York state to Virginia. It lies under about two-thirds of Pennsylvania, and geologists say it contains enough gas to stay in production for decades.

The discovery of more gas-rich shale formations in Pennsylvania will add years to the life of the business, operators say.
In southwestern Pennsylvania, where the gas-rich shales are layered in a column, Range's Zagorski said the additional strata could be accessed by new wells drilled from existing locations. That would reduce surface disturbances and allow the industry to maximize pipelines and infrastructure built for the Marcellus.
"In southwestern Pennsylvania, there are areas where all three of these shale plays exactly stack over the same well bore, over the same leases," Zagorski said. "That's extremely valuable. You're not having to disturb new ground or to build new pads to access some of these formations."
As old wells go into decline, new wells could be drilled from the same site, satisfying the industry's need to constantly develop new sources to maintain price stability.

Zagorski said the new discoveries were significant enough to be developed on their own, though they are more attractive when done in combination with Marcellus wells.
"I think they'll get developed and be important in the same way the Marcellus is; it will just take more time," he said.
Read more:

Local Water Well Driller offers insight into Marcellus shale drilling Process

Local Water Well Driller offers insight into Marcellus shale drilling Process"

2-10-2010 by Sally Zegers  (this is not my work)

"Francis Tully of Poyntelle, Pa., a well driller for most of his life, weighed in recently on drilling for natural gas in the area, based on what he calls the science of the drilling process. The Tully Drilling Company was started in 1928, by his father, Ben Tully."
" Tully Drilling was a major and well respected business in Wayne County for several decades, serving farmers and small business people across the area. Over the years, according to Francis Tully, the company drilled 10,000 wells across several counties and two states, and he still has the files to prove it."
"He says the phenomenon of "fracture zone seepage" is relatively common in Susquehanna and Wayne Counties and drillers often found natural gas while drilling for water. The internet features several videos of people "flaring" matches at water faucets in Susquehanna County, which is cited as evidence that gas drilling is damaging private water wells. However, drillers fifty years ago often found that they could flare matches at the faucets. According to Francis Tully, near Clifford, in Susquehanna County, "nearly every well in the area" has natural gas."

"According to Francis Tully, the photographs he’s seen of the (water) well that blew up in Dimock, Pa. on New Year’s Day 2009 lead him to believe that the (water) tank itself blew up. He believes the (pressure) switch froze in the on position, and it couldn’t switch off, allowing pressure to build and build until the tank blew apart. "Tanks do blow up," he says, noting that he’s seen it happen many times over the 60 plus years he was in the business. According to him, one tank came up through the floor of a living room, hit the ceiling and ended up on the divan. "
"He believes drilling for natural gas should be "perfectly safe" as long the drillers use three layers of pipe, using surface casing down to 1,000 feet, then drilling 7,600 feet to the Marcellus Shale. Then you case it again and grout it. The level at which water is found is relatively shallow. Drillers will bore through it with boreholes encased in steel and concrete, to protect the water supply, Tully points out. The Marcellus Shale is more than a mile underground. The different levels of rock and shale in the earth are like "pages in a book," he says. He points out that the layers of rock protect the water in the upper level. Fracturing, something water drillers have done for years with dynamite, only fractures the rock close to the well, not the thousands of feet above it.

He considers the entire development of gas drilling an exciting topic. “I wish I was twenty years younger. I’d be drilling,” he says.

He sold the building that housed the business about two years ago, and retired, albeit reluctantly, but still travels around to drilling sites and talks with the men behind the machines. “I don’t have a college degree, so I’m an unpaid consultant,” he smiles.

He regrets junking the first Ford truck that Ben Tully used to start the business, but has accumulated few other regrets over a lifetime of work. Following the flood of 2006, many local wells in the area were underwater, but because of the materials used and the attention to detail, none of the Tully wells was contaminated. He is quietly proud that his reputation, and that of his family, is secure.

I agree with the multiple casings and I would agree that at least 3 protective casings is a great idea.  I would suggest the first casing to about 300 feet, then about 750 to 1200 feet, and the next protective casement at 2500 to 3000+ feet.   These casements should be cemented and inspected.

I reposted this because I know Mr. Tully and have great respect for this individual.

Green Building Council in Northeast Pennsylvania -LEED Accredited Professionals and Green Associates

Green Building Council in Northeast Pennsylvania -LEED Accredited Professionals and Green Associates

Wilkes University, local business partners, and the Green Building Association of Central Pennsylvania is hosting a networking opportunity and education session related to Credential maintenance programs and forming a Green Building Council in NEPA.

PR Log (Press Release) – May 24, 2010 – Wilkes University, Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences Department, local business partners, and the Green Building Association of Central Pennsylvania is hosting a networking opportunity and education session related to Credential maintenance programs and forming a Green Building Council in NEPA. The Program is part of the Center for Continued Learning at Wilkes University.
Credential Maintenance Program for LEED-AP Accredited Professionals and LEED Green Associates - If you earned you LEED AP credential prior to June 2009, you have probably opted into a LEED AP with specialty such as Building Design and Construction, Operations, and Maintenance, or Interior Design and Construction). During the next two years, you will have to attend credential maintenance training for 30 hours or only 15 hours for Green Associates. For "opt-in" LEED APs most of these 30 hours are prescribed; you must attend stipulated hours in training that emphasizes specific LEED credit areas.

The steering committee for the Northeast PA branch of the Green Building Association of Central Pennsylvania and Wilkes University invites you to attend a credential maintenance seminar and networking opportunity at Wilkes University on June 23, 2010. The cost for this session is only $ 15.00 and the meeting time will be from 5:30 to 7:00 pm on Wednesday, June 23, 2010.

For more details go to

Wilkes University
Center for Continued Learning
84 West South Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766
Phone 570-408-4235, option # 1
For Information on B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc - Green Training, LEED Education, Sustainability, and Professional Continuing Education. B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc and Web Design Pros online LEED training programs, including LEED preparation exams, credential maintenance, green Associate, AIA training courses , Six Sigma Training, and much more.

# # #
A family owned business based in Northeastern Pennsylvania and providing professional geological soils hydrogeological environmental consulting services since 1985 and providing online education in alternative energy, Sustainability, LEED-AP and Green Associate Credential Maintenance programs, AIA approved courses, and courses for other licensed professionals.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

LEED-AP, Green Associate, LEED Credential Mainteance Programs, and Sustainable Design

LEED-AP, Green Associate, LEED Credential Mainteance Programs, and Sustainable Design

Web Design Pros provides online portal to aid in maintaining and obtaining LEED and Green Associates Certification. We have partnered with B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc and online educators to provide training programs for professionals.
PR Log (Press Release) – May 17, 2010 – Our online courses are designed to meet multi-state certification and license requirements. Our "Go- Green - Build Green- Design Green" provides portals to education and certification programs to faciliate or help professionals and contractors to meet LEED-AP, LEED, Green Associate, and education for Sustainability Professionals. These courses meet the USGBC's, AIA, and other education requirements, and meets state continuing education requirements. The program opportunities include:

AIA Sustainable Design Package
LEED AP Building Design and Construction Exam Prep
LEED AP Building Operations & Maintenance Exam Prep
LEED AP Interior Design and Construction Exam Prep
LEED AP New Homes Exam Prep
LEED AP Prescriptive Credentialing Maintenance Program (CMP) for Building Design and Construction
LEED AP Prescriptive Credentialing Maintenance Program (CMP) for Operations and Maintenance (O+M)
Green Associate LEED Exam Prep- 1 Year Online Subscription
LEED Green Associate Qualification Certificate: Green Building Principles
LEED Green Associate Qualification Certificate: Green Building Principles and Exam Prep Bundle
Sustainability Training and Certification Programs
Alternative Energy, Solar, Wind, Geothermal, BPI Training, and much more.
To learn more about these cost effective training opportunities, please visit us at

PA Professionals Continuing Education -Implementation of Continuing Education Requirements Delayed

"Implementation of Continuing Education Requirements Delayed
by Board Counsel Thomas A. Blackburn

At its November 2009 meeting, the board voted to delay implementation of mandatory continuing education until the 2011-13 license renewal period.

Act 170 of 2006 amended the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law to require each licensee to complete mandatory continuing education (CE) during each biennial renewal period. Act 170 also authorized the board to promulgate regulations to implement the CE requirement.

The board initially anticipated that mandatory CE would first be required during the October 2009 through September 2011 renewal period.

Following consideration of comments received in response to an exposure draft and in-house review, the board published proposed rulemaking on May 2, 2009. Many, many licensees commented on the proposed rulemaking.

The board delegated consideration of these comments to its continuing education committee, along with comments received from the House Professional Licensure Committee and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission.

In reviewing these extensive comments, the board and the committee realized that implementation of mandatory CE is not practical for the 2009-11 renewal period. Therefore, the board voted to delay implementation until the 2011-13 renewal period.
What this means is that the board will not require licensees to complete any continuing education during the 2009-11 renewal period. However, licensees will be education during the 2011-13 renewal period in order to renew in September 2013. What this means is that the board will not require licensees to complete any continuing education during the 2009-11 renewal period. However, licensees will be required to complete the full amount of continuing education during the 2011-13 renewal period in order to renew in September 2013.

At the March 2010 meeting, the continuing education committee reported to the board with recommended final regulations, which the board approved.

The board anticipates that it will deliver final rulemaking later this year so that the regulation may be finally promulgated by winter 2011. That will give licensees and providers at least six months advance notice to begin compliance with the CE requirements.

The board will provide updates in the promulgation of this rulemaking."
For more on this issue - go to
Plan for the 2011 - Training Cycle Now - A complete line of affordable continuing education courses, plus training in LEED, Green Associate, and Alternative Energy. For Continuing Education for Professionals - Engineering, Architects, Geologists, other professionals go to

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Baseline Independent Water Testing Water Quality Testing - Marcellus Shale Development What Parameters Should be Tested?

For the past 20 years, I have stressed the importance of private well construction standards and getting your water tested for your private well or water source.  Because of the specifics concerns with respect to the Marcellus Shale, the citizens are recognizing the importance of documenting the baseline quality of their drinking water and recreational water sources.  The primary concern is that many professionals are recommending baseline analysis that either provide a very broad range of parameters that are not specific enough to target the Marcellus Shale or a baseline analysis that targets only the potential impacts related to the develop of natural gas and in some cases there are companies with very little experience in environmental consulting.
From the citizens perspective - It is my professional opinion, the baseline analysis needs to take into consideration the following:

a. The existing geological conditions that may affect water quality for the region or area.
b. The existing land-use or activities occurring within the recharge zone for the well or spring or watershed area for the surfacewater resource.
c. Potential sources of contaminants from proposed developments that target the various phases of the development, i.e., drilling / drilling muds, intermixing of freshwater with saline and brine water, interception of shallow gas deposits, and management of the drilling pad.
d. The existing quality of your water and type of water source.

Of these 4 items, I believe that if the professional you are considering hiring does not ask you questions about your well and your current water quality you will not be establishing an affective baseline.  In addition, the professional providing this information should not be just reading off a list of recommendations by some third party, but have solid understanding of earth sciences, hydrology, well drilling, and groundwater. Remember - you are establishing a "legal" baseline that may need to address a multitude of issues not just Marcellus Shale Drilling or Hydrofracing.

Establishing a baseline - the following questions should be asked and used in the decision making process.

1. Where are you located and What is the type of water source?
2. If it is a well, what is the depth of the well, static water level, and depth of casing?
3. Does the water system have an existing treatment system?  If yes, why?
4. Does the water quality change when there is a heavy rain or snow melt?
5. Has it been tested in the past?
6. Are there any problems or issues?  Such as: discolored water, metallic taste, turbidity, staining, blue-green staining, etc
7. This water source supports what type of use? Single-family home, house and small farm, etc.
8. What is the size of your parcel?
9. What is the existing and past use of your parcel?
10. What is the land-use surrounding and upgradient of this source?

If the person conducting your baseline analysis - is not asking you these questions - he/she may not be providing you the help you need.

The following is a listing of parameters that PADEP identified as "potential parameters of concern" as it relates to Marcellus Shale Wastewater (2009):

pH, acidity, alkalinity, aluminum, ammonia nitrogen, arsenic, barium, benzene, biochemical oxygen demand, boron, bromide, cadmium, chemical oxygen demand, chlorides, total chromium, cobalt, copper, ethylene glycol, gross alpha, gross beta, total hardness, iron, lead, lithium, magnesium, manganese,  MBAS (surfactants), mercury, molybdenum, nickel, nitrate, nitrite, oil & grease, osomtic pressure, total phenolics, selenium, silver, sodium, specific conductance, strontium, sulfates, toluene, total dissolved solids, total kjeldahl nitrogen, total suspended solids, zinc, total nitrogen, and total phosphorous.

Again - these are parameters of concern or interest from a wastewater perspective, but it is possible to use this list to create a suitable baseline for testing private wells.  For the parameters listed above - I would recommend the following:

Minimum Baseline Monitoring for Northeast Pennsylvania
pH, acidity, alkalinity, ammonia nitrogen, arsenic, barium, bromide, chemical oxygen demand, chlorides,  total hardness, iron, manganese, MBAS (surfactants), nitrate+ nitrite, oil & grease, sodium, specific conductance, potassium, selenium, strontium, sulfates, total dissolved solids, total suspended solids, methane/ethane, and VOCs with MTBE.

Why pH - it is cheap and in our area we tend to have low pH water and the water is corrosive.
Why Acidity - our water may have a low pH, but it does not have a very high acidity - frac water, mine drainage, and other water associated with pyrite oxidation can.
Why Alkalinity - this relates to corrosion and possible chemistry of shale deposits with inter-bedded limestones
Ammonia Nitrogen - based on review of frac water chemistry
Arsenic - baseline levels are just below or above drinking water standard NOW
Barium - not typical in freshwater, but typical of drilling mud, flowback water.
Bromide-This is commonly used as a biocide.
Chemical oxygen demand - normally this should be low, but a low cost means of evaluating water chemical changes.
Chlorides - brine water has a high chloride content - also relates to road salt, urban runoff, sewage, etc.
Total Hardness - normally are water is typically soft, i.e., low hardness- frac and flowback water has significantly higher hardness.  Locally - we may have elevated levels of iron and manganese.
MBAS - surfactants - freshwater pretty much absent - may be present in sewage and in frac water and flow back water.
Nitrate+Nitrite - freshwater flow - can be caused by fertilizers, sewage,  urban runoff, frac water
Oil and Grease - we are talking about drilling, lubricants - also gas stations, service stations, and improper disposal locally, urban runoff, and spill
Sodium - freshwater low - sources may be road salt, urban runoff,  brine water, flowback water, water softeners
Specific Conductance - cheap - indicator test.
Potassium - freshwater low - source salting, sewage, urban runoff, brine water, flow backwater, water softeners
Selenium - connate water has elevated levels of selenium and reportedly flow back water has concentrations ranging from - 2 to 100 pbb
Strontium- reportedly flow back water strontium concentrations ranged from 400 ppb to over 4600 mg/L
Sulfates- we have a drinking water limit - 250 mg/L - elevated levels can be a diuretic.
Total Dissolved Solids - this is a gross measure of the sum of the inorganic material (iron, chloride, sulfate, etc) dissolved in the water - there is a standard - 500 mg/L
Total Suspended Solids- This is suspended materials - groundwater typically has a very low suspended solids, but this can increase because of the presence of metal oxides, corrosion of casing, poor well construction, damage to a well and more.
Methane / Ethane- Time to be honest - we have areas where the freshwater aquifer contains methane and we have areas that prior to drilling - we could light the gas at the "tap" and we have had problems.
VOCs with MTBE-  We use other petrochemicals that may be already present at trace levels and we have a lot of existing gasoline stations, underground unregistered private fuel tanks, oil tanks and more.  Guess wait - 1 gallon of gasoline can contaminate 1,000,000 gallons of water.

More to Come
1. Working on a list of organic chemicals|- this is not the final word.
2. Looking into lead (this may already be a problem for some wells with corrosive water).
3. Looking into lithium

Understanding your drinking water new - Free Publication

I hope you find this useful

Mr Brian Oram, PG
This is a living document and subject to change with more information.  Independent water testing, certified testing laboratories.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pending Natural Gas Legislation in Pennysylvania House and Senate Bills

"Natural Gas Legislation Update

The speed of development of natural gas within the Marcellus Shale has resulted in a flurry of legislative activity during the 2009/2010 session. Individuals wishing to advocate for or comment on any of the bills under consideration should contact his/her state representative and/or senator.

Revenue-Related Legislation

House Bill 10 – To amend the General County Assessment Law to enable counties to assess value to coal, minerals, natural gas, methane gas, and oil.
House Bill 208 - To standardize rules regarding properties in Clean and Green. The bill would limit drilling and extraction to one acre and impose roll-back taxes on only that one acre. The remaining eligible land will be assessed at the preferential value.
House Bill 623 – Creates a special fund for royalty payments from leasing of state forestry lands. Eighty percent of the royalties would be dedicated to property tax reduction and 20% would be put in the Oil and Gas Lease Fund for conservation purposes.
House Bill 834 – Requires the Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to hold regular auctions for drilling rights on state forest lands.
Senate Bill 490 – Allocates money from the Oil and Gas Lease Fund according to this breakdown:

$174 million to the General Fund  (person opinion - BAD Choice !)
$5 million to DEP for review and processing of oil and gas permit applications and to conduct inspections on oil and gas sites  (Should be higher )
$3 million to DEP for implementation of nutrient credit trading program as provided by law
$1 million to DCNR for administration of the PA Natural Heritage Program and for processing online environmental review applications submitted under the PA Natural Diversity Inventory  (This should be covered by fees - not this method)$500,000 to the PA Fish and Boat Commission for the administration of environmental reviews received under the PA Natural Diversity Inventory (This should be covered by fees - not this method- monies should be used for other uses)$500,000 to the PA Game Commission for the administration of environmental reviews received under the PA Natural Diversity Inventory(This should be covered by fees - not this method- monies should be used for other uses)
How about - funding alternative energy projects !

House Bill 977 – Legislation to:
Extend the Oil and Gas Conservation law to development of Marcellus Shale formation
Exclude production costs from being deducted from royalty payments
Ensure that horizontal drilling is not conducted under any lands where a lease between a landowner and a well operator does not exist
Provide a definition for a lease

House Bill 1050 – Amends state statutes to lease 390,000 acres of state forest land, 130,000 acres/year over 3 years. Leases would be required to have a minimum bid of $2,000 per acre and 16% royalty payment. It is expected that the leases would generate $260 million in first year. The revenue would be distributed as follows:
80% general fund  (Bad Choice - Money should not go to general fund - a portion should offset local realestate taxes for citizens and should be reinvested in alternative energy).
12.5% to communities with active wells(To do what?- this should be specificied)2.5% communities with Marcellus wells  (To do what?)
5% to Conservation Districts  (What about supporting Growing Greener??- Non-point source pollution control- installing stormwater infrastructure, improving water and wastewater facilities, buying watershed land)

House Bill 2015 – Permits an independent agency to retain all rents and royalty payments from oil and gas leases on lands owned by that agency, but does not apply to the PA Game Commission and the PA Fish and Boat Commission.
Governor’s Severance Tax Proposal – a 5% tax on the value of the gas and $0.047 tax on each million cubic feet extracted.
Regulatory Legislation

House Bill 297 – Requires PennDOT to update road bonding amounts based on increased maintenance costs by 2011 and every 3 years thereafter.

House Bill 473 – Creates a “Surface Owners’ Bill of Rights” which would require surface owners and well operators to more actively reach agreement on surface damages. In the absence of an agreement, the land owner may appeal to the PA Department of Environmental Protection for assistance.

House Bill 808 – Provides for doubling the amount of the bond required on oil and gas wells and used to fund the plugging of abandoned wells.

House Bill 934 – Permits landowners access to gas well production information at regular intervals in lieu of the 5-year moratorium on this information.

House Bill 1139 – Amends the Oil and Gas Resource Coordination Act by removing the minimum well separation distance requirement and requires the granting of a request when the well distance is less than 1,000 feet and there is a written agreement.

House Bill 1155 – Establishes a presumption that a well operator is responsible for water well pollution that is within 2,500 feet of an oil or gas well. Will require well operators to:
Provide a landowner 15-day notice, prior to entry on their land, to conduct activities that will not disturb the surface, such as surveys and inspections

Provide surface owners and those within a ½ -mile radius of any drilling activity, a 45-day notice of all planned activity

House Bill 1205 – Legislation to protect water well supplies by:

Extending the presumption of liability on the part of a well operator for damage to a water supply within 2,000 feet of a well in lieu of the current 1,000 feet

Extends the timeframe for when the damage was to have occurred to 24 months from the current 6 months

Requires that well operators conduct a test of water supplies within 2,000 feet of a well operation prior to drilling, and to conduct, upon a landowner or water purveyor’s request, up to two follow-up tests within a 24-month period after production has commenced.

House Bill 2183 – Legislation to amend the Oil and Gas Act by requiring a public notice of every oil or gas well permit application submitted to DEP be published once a week for 4 consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation

House Bill 2184 – Similar to House Bill 2183, but amends the Oil and Gas Conservation Law.

House Bill 2213 – Requires:
DEP to inspect a well during all phases of development
Extends the presumption of liability on the part of a well operator for damages to water supply within 2,500 feet of a well in lieu of the current 1,000 feet
Requires disclosure of the hydraulic fracking chemicals by well operators to DEP
Increases the bonding requirements on Marcellus shale wells to $150,000 per well
Attempts to clarify the authority of state and local governments over oil and gas well drilling operations

House Bill 2214 – Requires that royalty payments exclude post-production costs and be exempt from any severance taxes.

House Bill 2266 – Establishes criteria for when interest in oil and gas can be deemed abandoned. If the interest in oil or gas owned by another party (other than surface owner) has not been sold, leased, mortgaged or transferred for a 20 year period, it shall be deemed abandoned. Establishes provisions for preserving the interest as well.

House Bill 2276 – Similar to HB 977 but removes all references to the unitization provisions and their
extension to the Marcellus shale formation contained in HB 977.

Senate Bill 297 – Requires the well operator to semi-annually submit production reports to the PA DEP. After a 5-year confidentially period, DEP will post the production reports on the website.

Senate Bill 298 – Establishes that for land in Clean and Green, roll-back taxes will only imposed on acreage used for drilling and extraction.
Senate Bill 1092 – Requires each well operator to provide a cement quality log or other approved method to DEP, to allow them to evaluate the adequacy of the cement being used in drilling operations.
Individual bills can be found by entering the bill number in the box on the upper-right hand corner of the page."
Not my work - but posted so I can put in my comments the source,

Rep Boback Submits House Resolution 729 to Evaluate Laws Related to Marcellus Shale Development

Boback Introduces Legislation to Address Concerns with Marcellus Shale Drilling 5/3/2010 Rep. Karen Boback (R-Columbia/Luzerne/Wyoming) announced today that she has introduced legislation to direct the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) to perform a comprehensive study of the Commonwealth’s current laws and regulations governing the development of natural gas within the Marcellus Shale formation.
“As the unprecedented interest in this natural resource continues to grow, it is important for us to take stock of the laws and regulations we have on the books to ensure that we are effectively protecting our citizens and our environment from the potentially harmful impact of natural gas drilling,” said Boback. “If the study uncovers disparities or weaknesses in our laws and regulations, the Legislature can promptly move to address them.”
House Resolution 729 would direct the LBFC to conduct the study and report its findings, along with recommendations for updates, to the General Assembly. The resolution has been referred to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
Boback noted that the Marcellus Shale region covers 60 percent of the Commonwealth and the drilling that is taking place into the shale is deeper than was possible when many of the laws regulating the industry were written.
“There is a lot at stake for Pennsylvania when it comes to the Marcellus Shale,” said Boback. “It is important that we take a reasoned and informed approach to addressing the issue of drilling. Responsible drilling must be our foremost concern.”
Rep. Karen Boback
117th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
(570) 477-3752
(717) 787-1117
Contact: Nicole Wamsley
(717) 783-8063

For a copy of the Resolution go to

This is great - we need a comprehensive evaluation of the cost of this development and an analysis of manpower and infrastructure

Thank you for your leadership !

Thursday, May 6, 2010

League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Position On Marcellus Shale

PA League of Women Voters, presents recommendations on Marcellus Shale natural gas development.  There position paper can be found outline at
It was adopted by the Organization on May 1, 2010\

I believe the organization took - 6 months - the position statement is 1 page long - very concise

a. promote the use of best management practices, improve communications, and increase regulatory staff
b. develop jobs and local based economic development - but not at the cost of tourism
c. improving fee structure to actual cost for regulatory oversight, plugging wells
d. impose a severance tax with moneys used for the following:

1.preservation and enhancement of natural resources
2.monitoring and protecting public health
3.escrow fund to support community redevelopment when industry fades
4. research on the effects and economic impact
Sorry - I have to comment here - what about lowering property taxes ???? 

e. Revise regulations to

1.improve transparency
2. provide public input
3.extend time lines and parameters for water supply testing - but they did not seem to provide a recommendation
4.balance mineral owner and surface owners rights
5.develop an efficient oversight system to track and report violations

After reading all the materials they used to develop this position, I was hoping for more and here is the more.

Just my thoughts
1. Better and more comprehensive standards for well construction and on-site testing and certification.
2. Severance tax, portion of fees, and a significant portion of fines- this should be used to fund and provide resources to the communities were gas is being developed, support Growing Green and Environmental Projects, support alternative energy, lower property taxes so homeowners can make energy and efficiency improvements, fund reforestation programs, fund land reclamation on mine land, clean up brownfields, work on stormwater problems, and clean up AMD.  

It would be nice to use the funds to preserve features - but we need the funds for major infrastructural changes to improve efficiency and decrease dependence on energy sources from other countries

All the four items they proposed do not make sense to me - the items they proposed should come from the fees not the severance tax. 

The funds should not be used to research the effects or for economic analysis - there are other research needs that are more critical that the industry could fund.

3. Revise regulations - they seem to forgot construction standard changes, but I do not see how regulations are going to balance subsurface and surface rights - I believe that has been dealt with by case law.   Develop oversight system - again I do not think this a regulatory role- but administration that should be covered by fees and fines.

Other items
20 Facts and 20 Questions

Marcellus Shale Study Guide- Now this is impressive !
I am not on-board with their position - but the Study Guide is very good - I am not 100% complete with my review, but it seems comprehensive.

Energy Auditor Training + BPI Certification Exams - Green Building LEED Sustainability

Energy Auditor Training + BPI Certification Exams

BPI Building Analyst Certification course May 24-28. Sustainable Energy Engineer and Entrepreneur with more than thirty-two (32) years experience in energy engineering, technical training, consulting, project management; residential housing, construction and finance; and network design and implementation. His recent focus has been on sustainable energy; certifying ENERGY STAR Homes, providing BPI training services, alternative energy projects, and performing residential and small commercial energy audits.

The goal of this course is to prepare you for the BPI Building Analyst Written and Field Certification Exams. There is a lot of material for you to learn, including building science concepts, how to perform inspections, operate various test equipment, perform calculations and interpret results so that you can make recommendations regarding actions that can be taken to improve the energy efficiency, health and safety of a building.

You are being sent the book “Residential Energy” by John Krigger and Chris Dorsi. Please read the Introduction and Chapters 1-10 prior to class. Also familiarize yourself with the Appendices. I will be spending about a day and a half reviewing the key concepts in this book. The better you know this material the sooner we can get to the BPI Technical Standard and hands-on activities with the test equipment that you will need to show proficiency with during the Field Exam. You are also being provided with the BPI Building Analyst Technical Standard, and documents that detail the information that you will be tested on during the written and field exams, which you should review prior to class.

Please take care of all of the above preparation prior to class week. One of the best things you can do prior to an exam is to get a good night’s rest.

For access to this course go to
use promo code "bfenviro"- for a discount

For other training programs to to

LEED Training, Green Building, and Sustainability - Go To

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How to file a Consumer Complaint Related to Natural Gas

PA State Attorney General Consumer Complaint Office

Action items
The State Attorney General of PA can help with complaints and problems about gas drilling.
They can Do:
* You CAN file a complaint about the practices of landmen, or gas company and pipeline representatives. If you feel you have been subject to unfair tactics, fraud, bullying, pressuring etc you may make a formal complaint.

What They Can NOt Do, this is what the Attorney General's Office cannot do:
The Office does not handle,

* environmental issues; complaints must be made to the EPA or The PA DEP, if they appear to be criminal in nature they MAY be turned over to the investigative department of the State Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Unit. They work by referral from other agencies only.
* They do not assist with leasing complaints, that is an attorney/client issue. You must get your own legal assistance to resolve lease issues.

There website

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

PA House Bill 2235 Passes - The Save the Forests

The vote was 157-33. You can find out how your Representative voted by going to the link below.
Below is a link to the role call vote.

An Act providing for a moratorium on leasing State forest lands for the purposes of natural gas exploration, drilling or production; imposing duties on the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; and providing for report contents and for Legislative Budget and Finance Committee study.

House Bill 2235.

Fiscal Note on the Bill

The Proposed Ammendments - appeared to fail

The bill passed with one amendment offered by Representative Levdansky. The amended bill reduces the moratorium to three years, but also calls for two state studies of environmental and economic impacts. DCNR is now required to prepare a comprehensive environmental impact review to assess the impact of gas development. A study by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee regarding the environmental, economic and societal impacts of leasing of state lands for Marcellus development is also required.

The final bill is located at

The Bill appears still does not appear to include evaluating the findings to develop Best Management Plans for drilling in these areas

Just my thoughts


We Really Need to Start Working Together - Now Wind Turbines are Bad - Maybe all alternative energy projects should be permitted by PADEP ?

NOT My Work !
"If there's an ideal spot in Lancaster County for wind turbines, James Warner said, Turkey Point is it.
The winds howl around the cliffs at the western edge of Manor Township. For 22 months, the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority maintained a 180-foot tower to measure the gusts and determine whether they are strong enough to generate power for the neighboring Turkey Hill Dairy. They are, said Warner, executive director of the waste authority. So the authority and PPL want to spend $9.5 million, including $1.5 million in federal stimulus funds, to erect two 360-foot turbines and generate one-quarter of the dairy's daily needs. "We're looking to leverage our assets," Warner said of the site and the winds that blow across it, "to promote renewable energy."

But this "green" project makes Kim Van Vleet and a growing chorus of opponents see red. Van Fleet, a biologist for Audubon Pennsylvania, calls the studies that preceded the proposal wholly inadequate. "They need to do at least another two to three years of studies" on bird migration, said Van Vleet, who fears the turbines could kill bald eagles, shorebirds and songbirds."We're not against them doing a renewable [energy] project," she said. "But we really need to re-examine wind power on biological issues and ecological impacts. There are definite drawbacks."

Both locally and nationally, such drawbacks are cited by a growing number of people who may, in theory, support "green" energy projects — but who often have grave concerns about proposals in their own communities.
Both the Obama and the Rendell administrations have made the development of renewable fuels a priority, and renewable energy projects have grown in number and scale. But many hit political or legal roadblocks that delay or even kill the projects outright; and while proponents say the local objections may be understandable and valid, they have the cumulative effect of stymieing the nation's move to alternative sources of energy.

Twice in the past decade a proposal to build an ethanol plant in Conoy Township sparked major opposition. Just last week, the Lancaster County Planning Commission recommended that East Drumore Township officials reject a proposed solar farm, saying that preserving farmland is more important. The situation has grown so common that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce runs a website called Project No Project (, a "repository of stalled and stopped energy projects" that details how "green power" often runs afoul of "green tape."

"These projects are being killed," said Bill Kovacs, the chamber's senior vice president for environment technology and regulatory affairs. "This is the story all over the country.  Last week a project that could be the poster child for the battle between renewable energy and local opposition finally received federal approval, after years of delays. The Cape Wind project, off Massachusetts' Nantucket Sound, would be the nation's first offshore wind farm, covering some 25 square miles and generating enough electricity to power 200,000 homes. Proponents say it will "deliver annual reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions equivalent to taking 175,000 cars off the road," according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.

The project has been mired in legal and local challenges since it was proposed in 2001. Many complaints are aesthetic; opponents, including the Kennedy family, say the turbines will hurt fishing and boating, and have a "destructive" effect on the local scenery. Others say the project violates "environmental laws and laws protecting the rights of Indian tribes in the area," the Journal reported. Locally, opposition to large-scale projects tends to be more pragmatic.

Last Monday, the Lancaster County Planning Commission reviewed plans for a 15-megawatt solar farm on an 88-acre tract in East Drumore Township. The planners — in the words of commissioner Matthew Young — deemed the proposal by Radnor-based Community Energy Inc. to be "a wonderful project — well done, well-thoughtout."

But despite the fact that the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture himself, Russell Redding, attended the meeting to support the proposal, the planners unanimously gave it a thumbs-down. Installing solar panels, they fear, would take the farmland out of production, putting even more pressure on a scarce and invaluable resource. "The commission is very supportive of alternative energy production, but we have a responsibility to be good stewards of a soil that's of national and global importance," said James Cowhey, planning commission executive director

Community Energy President R. Brent Alderfer remains upbeat, noting that if done right, the project might actually benefit local farmland. "We would not disturb the topsoil," Alderfer said; posts would merely be driven into the soil to support the panels, and the panels spaced far enough apart to allow sunlight to reach the ground. The company would then plant grasses that can restore soil nutrition. "We fully expect to show that after 20 years [the site] would have better soil nutrition than when we started," Alderfer said.
The company has not yet submitted its formal application to East Drumore Township; that could come within the month, Alderfer said. V. Merril Carter, chairman of the township board of supervisors, said the county planning commission's recommendation "would have a bearing on our decision, but this is still going to fall in our laps.

"No one really knows anything about this yet," he said; so far he's only gotten one letter from a resident complaining about the project.
But even if local opposition doesn't materialize, Cowhey said the project still should be shelved.
Given that solar farms require wide-open, sunlit spaces — which in Lancaster County means farmland — solar farms simply might not be a good fit here, he said.

"Maybe it's better located where the community doesn't treasure that resource like we do here in Lancaster County," he said.

Great Article - to read more

My Comments
If we are concerned about losing local control - this is one way to ensure we will not have it for long.  If we contiunously stall good projects out of fear we will not make any progress and the industry will lobby to take more of the control out of local hands. These types of local decisions are probably part of the reason why the Oil and Gas Legislation is controlled mostly by the State.  If we want alternative energy projects to be permitted and controlled by the state, local agencies need to continue to make bad decisions.

For most large scale alternative energy projects to be cost effective there are only certain areas where these projects are technically feasible.  If we prevent these projects in the most suitable areas out of local fear - this decision not only impacts the local community - but all residents of the State.   For example - there are only about 4 sections of Luzerne County where wind turbines are even feasible - Local agencies eliminated at least one - this is sad.  We complain about fuel and energy costs - lack of jobs and when a solution comes up that will help (not solve the problem) - we say we like wind - solar, but we do not like it here how about over there where it will not work, cost more (remember we pay this cost), or will not be as efficient.

The fear a solar farm will cause us to lose "valuable agricultural land" - ok if the farmer could make a living on the farm using solar panels or a combination of biofuels (switchgrass, etc) - this may save the farm, create local jobs, etc.  If we can not put solar and wind turbines in the east or off the coast and we can not put them out west because of potential impacts to the desert - then what are we do due.  I agree farmland is important, but this is not just a local asset - it is a State Resource that is owned by a citizen that is paying taxes.

If Drill Baby Drill is not the right direction - we need to back an effort to stop this endless effort to stall solid projects, because of missing or not having all the data.  We will never have all the data.

We need to establish alternative energy sources, I would love it if people would conserve, homes were made energy efficient, and government was efficient.  I do not want to adversely impact the environment, but as a scientist we sometimes have to make a "good guess" as professionals we have to use our "professional opinion".  We may not have all the facts - but if we waited to get every last piece of data- would never get anything done.  I would love to power my house with solar or wind - I can not because I do not have the space or sunlight - I may have been able to do this if the Bear Creek Project was approved - it was not.  I can not put up a turbine - because if it falls over it could land on my neighbors home - but both he and I can have trees that are larger, weight more that could take out our respective homes - this is a joke!

We need to stop this approach to alternative energy development and study after study.  The industry needs to conduct an evaluation, licensed professionals need to evaluate and review, regulators review, apponents argue permit with the State,  and if project is suitable regulators review, permit and monitor.   I would strongly consider adding a pre- and post-construciton monitoring of the project to evaluate impacts and then have the energy company cost 100% of the cost, 100 % of the implement to mitigate, and cover 100% of all damages.   If these local agencies do not start looking at the interest of the state citizens, then I believe that PA Law should change and take some of the control out of their hands - I do not like this approach and I do not want this to happen - but when you give someone the FACTs and they are impacted more by a persons guess, fear, or question - this is not the way decisions should be made. 

Also - maybe a Non-profit Organization needs to form to fight local decisions that prohibit or stall alternative energy projects - Something Titled - Pennsylvanian Coalition for Alternative / Renewable Energy and the Environment.

On the ethanol end - I would wait until cellulosic is figured out, but I imagine the community would be ok if the plant created alcohol and not ethanol.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chief Violates Water Withdrawal Permit

May 1, 2010

Water withdrawal violated drilling permit

Kathy Mellott
This is not my work - but a great article

ROCKWOOD — A Texas company is in violation of its permit for the drilling of a Marcellus Shale gas well because the company withdrew water from the Casselman River without approval, a state official said. Chief Gas & Oil, under a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection, recently opened a second natural gas extraction well site in Jefferson Township, Somerset County.

DEP spokeswoman Helen Humphreys said the company had been approved to pull water from the Casselman River for the drilling of its Saylor Well in Middle Creek Township, opened in 2009. But the permit did not include this latest endeavor. “They said they misunderstood,” Humphreys said. “They thought they were approved to remove water for these newer wells and they will be coming in to discuss this with us.”

Humphreys said the action is a violation, but said she is not in a position to discuss specifics about enforcement.
Well drilling operations have popped up across the state as gas and oil companies race to reach the rich underground natural gases found in the Marcellus Shale beds running under about two-thirds of Pennsylvania and in a number of other states.

The Saylor Well was completed last year. Drilling on the new well in Jefferson Township has been completed, but the fracking – use of water to fracture rock needed to gain access to the gas – is not yet done, said Chief Gas & Oil spokeswoman Kristi Gittins. The state was made aware of the permit violation after some Somerset County residents questioned the withdrawals by tankers using a boat docking site at Roberts Landing near Rockwood.  Gittins said the company misunderstood that the permit was for a specific well.
“We were in violation to remove water from that source,” she said. “We made a mistake by withdrawing water for that particular well.”  The violation is not expected to impact the Jefferson Township well development because the company has the water it needs through other approved sources, Gittins said.
Drilling is done primarily with air, but the water is needed for part of the fracking process, she said
The water haulers stirred the ire of locals after the tankers using Roberts Landing made access difficult for others attempting to use the launch. 
At one point, large rocks positioned to push the tankers back were removed, said members of the Casselman River Watershed Association. Damage also resulted to the cement structure, said Roger Latuch, president of the watershed association. Roberts Landing was one of five docks built by volunteers with funding from a number of sources including private businesses, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Somerset County Tourism grants, Latuch said.

For more of this article go to

Again not my work - great article