Links to articles that describe the adequacy or inadequacy of exiting regulations to control the potential hazards associated with natural gas development.
- - 1016 - [January 14, 2015] - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Laura Legere and Anya Litvak - "Obama sets date to cut emissions of methane from gas wells"
- "The Obama administration set a goal Wednesday of cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by nearly half in the next 10 years with a proposal targeting new wells.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it will propose rules this summer to limit methane emissions from new oil and gas wells, compressor stations and other sources.
It also will issue guidelines for cutting emissions of smog-forming compounds from existing oil and gas facilities in areas of the country that need to improve their ozone air quality levels, including a block of northeastern states that includes Pennsylvania.
The Obama administration’s goal is to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025, although administration officials acknowledged that the steps they proposed Wednesday, which also include standards for new wells on federal lands and other measures, would not be enough to meet that goal."
- - 1041 - [January 8, 2015] - TribLive | Neighborhoods, Liz Hayes - "Legal wrangling limits testimony on drilling regulations in Allegheny Twp."
- "The first zoning hearing on the validity of Allegheny Township's natural gas-drilling regulations featured as much debate among attorneys as it did testimony from witnesses.
Christopher and Angelo Papa, the attorneys representing three Willowbrook Road residents who object to a Marcellus shale natural gas well permitted on a neighboring property...
Dee Frederick, Beverly Taylor and Patricia Hagaman not only have asked the board to revoke CNX Gas Co.'s permit to drill on Willowbrook...
The first hour of the hearing was spent debating whether Duquesne University professor John Stolz was qualified to testify on his knowledge of how unconventional natural gas wells are drilled, the industry's use of hydraulic fracturing, and his research into the potential environmental impacts of the process."
- - 1042 - [NA] - Maryland Manual On-Line, Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive & Legislative Review - "General Assembly - Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive & Legislative Review"
- "In 1964, the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review (AELR) was formed as the Committee on Legislative Review (Chapter 96, Acts of 1964). It received its present name in 1972 (Chapters 400 and 699, Acts of 1972).
Proposed State agency regulations are reviewed by the Committee with regard to the legislative prerogative and procedural due process. Moreover, periodic review and evaluation of existing regulations are monitored by the Committee, which also may be designated by the General Assembly to monitor the implementation of specific legislation by a State agency. In addition, the Committee may inquire into any alleged failure of a State government officer or employee to comply with Maryland statutory or constitutional law."
- - 1043 - [December 12, 2014] - The Baltimore Sun, Timothy B. Wheeler - "Maryland fracking rules proposed, but Hogan gets final say"
- "As expected, the O'Malley administration has moved ahead with regulations intended to ensure safe drilling for natural gas in western Maryland. It will be up to Gov.-elect Larry Hogan, though, whether they get imposed.
In its submission to the joint House-Senate Administrative Executive and Legislative Review Committee, state environmental officials said the rules - some stricter than any other state's - are needed to adequately protect against spills, well contamination, air pollution and other impacts on public health, safety and natural resources."
- - 1066 - [January 18, 2015] - TribLive | News, Jason Cato - "Peters moves toward new policy on Marcellus Shale drilling"
- "On Monday night, Peters officials will continue their years-long quest to revamp the township's zoning to determine whether it can accommodate gas drilling and, if so, where and how.
In 2012, Peters officials joined several other municipalities in opposing provisions in Pennsylvania's oil and gas law reforms known as Act 13 — notably sections that limited local government's control over where drilling could be controlled through zoning. The state Supreme Court in December 2013 ruled in support of the Peters challenge.
Now, Peters officials want to make sure their proposed ordinance would be legal and to hear residents' thoughts on the issue"
- - 1151 - [January 21, 2015] - Baltimore Sun, Timothy Wheeler - "Hogan moves quickly to block controversial environmental regulations"
- "In one of his first acts after taking office Wednesday, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan withdrew a handful of regulations proposed in the final weeks of the previous Democratic administration.
One hotly contested proposal would have curbed Eastern Shore farmers' use of poultry manure on their fields. Another of the blocked regulations would have clamped down on smog-forming air pollution from coal-burning power plants.
Three other regulations dealt with medical care, but the new administration didn't provide more detail.
Montgomery said Hogan has ordered a comprehensive review of all pending regulations, opening them up for further "public input, public hearing and full due process" before they can be finalized."
- - 1171 - [January 27, 2015] - PennLive - The Patriot-News, Candy Woodall - "Regulating pipelines: Whose job is it?"
- "There are thousands of miles of pipelines moving through Pennsylvania, but no state or federal agency seems to know exactly how many or specifically where they are located.
The state Department of Environmental Protection doesn't have a list like that, though it does have a comprehensive map of gas wells in the commonwealth.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has a list from 2011 through 2013 that includes more than 13,000 miles of existing natural gas lines and those carrying hazardous materials through the state.
But it doesn't include numerous pipelines that are active or being planned to carry Marcellus Shale gases from southwestern Pennsylvania to other parts of the northeast."
- - 1172 - [January 8, 2015] - PennLive - The Patriot-News, Candy Woodall - "Can a pipeline builder take your property through eminent domain?"
- "Because extracting oil and gas outpaces the infrastructure to deliver it, pipeline builders across the country are working to catch up and create an underground network to transport the state's natural resources.
The state continues to grant approvals to pipeline builders, treating them as public utilities with eminent domain rights. That gives companies cart blanche to dig up various properties across Pennsylvania, whether it's a private residence or a public park. It also makes companies subject to greater regulations.
"The unique question here is whether a pipeline builder is a true public utility? The answer to that question is always the catalyst for a company getting eminent domain," Smith said."
- - 1199 - [January 27, 2015] - EchoWatch - Transformimg Green, Stefanie Spear - "Report Shows How Fracking Industry's Failure to Follow Regulations Impacts Human Health"
- "A new report out today from Environment America Research & Policy Center shows that all types of fracking companies, from small to large, are prone to violating rules intended to protect human health and the environment.
The report, Fracking Failures: Oil and Gas Industry Environmental Violations in Pennsylvania and What They Mean for the U.S., analyses Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry over a four-year period and found that the top offenders of regulations—averaging more than one environmental violation every day—represented a wide range of companies from Fortune 500 companies like Cabot Oil, to mom-and-pop operators, to firms like Chevron."
- - 1200 - [winter 2015] - Environment America Research & Policy Center, Jeff Inglis and John Rumpler - "Fracking Failures - Oil and Gas Industry Environmental Violations in Pennsylvania and What They Mean for the U.S."
- "Fracking is dirty. From the very beginning of clearing a site for drilling, through extraction, transport and delivery of finished products, fracking poses significant risks to our air and water and to human health. People who live and work near fracking sites are at greater risk for respiratory and neurological diseases.
Oil and gas industry spokespeople routinely maintain that the risks of fracking can be minimized by best practices and appropriate state regulation. Not only is this false – fracking is harmful even when drillers follow all the rules – but drillers also regularly violate essential environmental and public health protections, undermining their own claims. A look at recent data from Pennsylvania, where key industry players pledged to clean up their acts, illustrates the frequency with which companies still break the rules. "
- - 1303 - [January 29, 2015] - ExxonMobile Perspectives, Ken Cohen - "Off-balance in Pennsylvania"
- "Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order today instituting a moratorium on new leases for oil and natural gas drilling on state lands.
Several things are worth pointing out.
Pennsylvania_Keystone_Feature_01-2015First, it is not a ban on fracking on state lands, as has been reported in many news outlets. Governor Wolf’s executive order is clear that it applies to all drilling, not just wells that are hydraulically fractured."
- - 1328 - [February 10, 2015] - UOGR, UOGR - "Maryland moves forward on fracturing regulations"
- "Maryland state officials planned to draft regulations that would allow hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus shale in West Maryland provided that natural gas producers abide by certain stipulations limiting the risks of water contamination and air pollution.
The decision stemmed from a report concluding a 3-year study by state agencies. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed an executive order in June 2011 establishing the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative."
- - 1451 - [February 14, 2015] - Pennsylvania | Energy.Environment.Economy, State Impact, a reporting project of NPR member stations - "DEP: The Department That Regulates and Oversees Drilling"
- "Regulating natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation is one of many duties charged to the Department of Environmental Protection.
DEP is responsible for enforcing the state’s Oil and Gas Act, as well as state regulations on drinking water quality, air quality and the environmental health of rivers and streams.
DEP divides the state into six regions, and operates 19 district offices.
The department’s Bureau of Oil and Gas Management employs about 80 well inspectors, who are funded through drilling permitting fees. A proposed – but quickly scuttled – change in regulatory policy raised the ire of drilling opponents in early 2011. A leaked internal memo directed regional offices to forward notices of violation for drillers to the Harrisburg office for final approval. DEP officials quickly backtracked, calling the change a “pilot program,” and then scrapping it altogether."
- - 1460 - [January 10, 2014] - HUFF Post Green, Merc Levy - "Pennsylvania Governor Wolf Advances Tougher Gas Drilling Rules"
- "A forthcoming proposal to toughen regulations for the Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling industry will target how it stores waste, dampens noise and affects public water resources, schools and playgrounds, state environmental regulators said Monday.
The proposal is the first signal from Gov. Tom Wolf's administration of how it will approach the natural gas industry after the Democrat campaigned last year on a promise to toughen state regulation of the industry. He also is seeking lawmakers' approval of higher taxes on booming natural gas production to boost aid to public schools."
- - 1516 - [October 2, 2014] - U.S.News & World Report, Alan Neuhauser - "Obama Tightens Fracking Regs, Requires Chemical Disclosure"
- "Taking the federal government’s most forceful step to regulate hydraulic fracturing – the controversial oil and gas technology fueling both America’s energy boom and widespread health and safety concerns – the Obama administration on Friday announced stricter measures to protect groundwater from fracking operations on more than 750 million acres of federal and tribal lands.
Fracking companies will be required to disclose the chemicals they use to crack open underground shale oil and gas, and to contain toxic wastewater in rigid, aboveground tanks outfitted with nets or other covers – both to prevent spills and to keep wildlife away. Firms will also need to ensure new wells will not interfere with existing operations in efforts to avoid catastrophic spills or blowouts."
- - 1519 - [March 20, 2015] - PowerSource - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Laura Legere / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - "Natural gas industry criticizes Pennsylvania DEP"
- "Natural gas industry trade groups railed against the state Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed changes to rules governing the industry at an advisory board meeting on Friday, saying they are being held to stricter standards than those that apply to similar industries.
Representatives of the Robinson-based Marcellus Shale Coalition and the Wexford-based Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association questioned the agency’s legal authority to make some of its proposed changes, and criticized the DEP for offering little warning before proposing new standards for subjects like noise mitigation and waste reporting requirements"
- - 1679 - [February 18, 2014] - TriplePundit, Josh Garrett - "Fracking Pragmatism: Voluntary Standards for Shale Development"
- "Fracking is back in the news. The debate over the costs and benefits of the U.S. shale boom is heating up, despite a major slowdown in drilling activity brought on by low oil and natural gas prices.
Since modern fracking began, plenty of new information about the effects of shale development has come to light, but the defined positions in the debate remain the same: “Fracking is safe and an economic blessing” vs. “fracking is a certain environmental and public health disaster.”"
- - 1695 - [April 17, 2015] - attn:, Alex Mierjeski - "Many Developed Nations Have Banned Fracking. Meanwhile in Texas..."
- "In oil-rich Texas last week, energy companies looking for openings that would allow them to continue fracking efforts in the state got some good news: their efforts could have some legislative backbone up against counties and cities currently barring the practice.
In light of what Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) calls runaway local overregulation, the Republican-controlled Texas House passed a bill that would effectively cut off local clout when determining who has access to underground resources––a decision that Republicans contented ultimately belongs to the state, not to local legislatures."