TribLIVE: Upper Burrell residents, officials clash over Marcellus Shale drilling

Photo: Ruhrfisch
Photo: Ruhrfisch
Upper Burrell township supervisors and residents butted heads Tuesday over how much the Pennsylvania township can regulate Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling.

Many residents attended a presentation last week on the alleged environmental damage caused by natural gas drilling. And about 60 residents showed up today to call for supervisors to limit or prevent drilling in the largely rural area.

However, supervisors and their solicitor, Steve Yakopec, said municipalities have little authority over natural gas extraction.

Some residents proposed a moratorium on drilling but Yakopec said that would have to come from the state level.

Supervisors Chairman Ross Walker III, after attending several meetings hosted by the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors and by Chesapeake Energy, said he is comfortable enough that he may sign a lease for drilling on his own property.

This produced an outcry from the audience with many people listing possible consequences of drilling, including air, water and noise pollution, decreased property value, and road damage from truck traffic.

Several angry residents shouted that they believed the supervisors, who did not attend last week’s presentation, had already made up their minds to allow drilling due to financial incentives.


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‘Gasland’ documentary probes the effects of gas drilling

After being offered approximately $100,000 to allow gas companies to extract natural gas through hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) on his property in Pennsylvania, Josh Fox had a lot of questions.

Having never heard of fracking, he scoured the internet only to find a dearth of information. With so many questions left unanswered, Fox decided to find out for himself. He took off with his video camera on a journey around 24 states to discover the truth about fracking and what he uncovered, in his documentary ‘Gasland,’ was the shocking consequences of the United States’ natural gas drilling boom.

In the PBS interview from March this year, Josh Fox explains that the drilling is happening in 34 states and has been going on for the last 10 years. He says, “We are currently in the middle of the largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history.” Interviewer David Brancaccio agreed saying, “Some are calling it the ‘Saudi Arabia of energy resource’, underneath our own land.”

In states across America, Fox found water coming directly out of kitchen faucets that can be set on fire, large pools of toxic waste that kill cattle and vegetation, chronically ill residents with the same unusual symptoms living in drilling areas in disparate locations around the U.S., and well blowouts and gas explosions that are routinely covered up.

To get the full story watch the Sundance award winning documentary, ‘Gasland’, on HBO June 21st at 9PM.

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WSJ: Oil drilling should be resuming soon

The Obama administration announced yesterday that the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service will be releasing new safety rules as early as Tuesday.

Since May, shallow water oil and gas drilling has been placed on hold pending the new regulations. There has been rising public outcry that delays in releasing the rules are impacting thousands of jobs.

The six-month moratorium on deep-water oil drilling that was placed following the April 20 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion will remain.


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AP: Authorities investigate Texas natural gas explosion

A natural-gas pipeline owned by Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners LP exploded in Cleburne, Texas, Monday when utility workers drilling holes to install power-line poles struck a gas line, killing one and injuring at least seven.

The blast could be seen from miles away.

Authorities are trying to determine if the gas line was marked.

This is the third natural-gas pipeline explosion in the U.S. within four days. On June 3, a well partially-owned by another Houston-based company, EOG Resources Inc., blew out in Pennsylvania, and Sunday, a Chief Oil & Gas well exploded in West Virginia after workers drilling for natural gas hit a pocket of methane.


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