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Friday, July 18, 2014

A dog's breakfast

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court has thrown out some additional provisions of the state’s flawed, compromised Act 13, while upholding other troubling provisions.

In a ruling issued yesterday, the Court 
...tossed out as unconstitutional a provision of Pennsylvania’s oil and gas law that gave the Public Utility Commission the first chance to review the validity of local ordinances regulating the industry. 
But the Commonwealth Court did uphold some portions of Act 13, finding the government had valid reasons for wanting to limit who had to be notified of a spill, allowing certain companies to have eminent domain power for the storage or transportation of natural gas and limiting the information the industry had to share with the medical community about the chemicals used in fracking.

Will Pennsylvania's Act 13 be cleaned up?

That, ultimately, is up to the citizens of the Keystone State.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Oklahoma's not OK as earthquakes continue

This past weekend, Oklahoma experienced seven earthquakes, with the most severe registering at 4.3-magnitude.  The state has actually passed California as the US state with the most earthquakes.  Indeed, the US Geological Survey said in May that the: 
rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma has increased by about 50 percent since October 2013, significantly increasing the chance for a damaging quake in central Oklahoma. 
With injection of wastewater from unconventional oil and gas drilling the likely culprit – or perhaps the obvious cause – one wonders why there hasn’t been immediate action in Oklahoma to protect citizens and private property.  

Unless, of course, you’re actually concerned about the economy.

Oklahoma's non-response to an obvious threat to public health and safety is a cautionary tale to the nation - and the world.

Monday, July 14, 2014

MD regulators recommend some of nation's toughest shale gas standards, based in part on my work (shameless self-promotion)

State regulators in Maryland have recommended some of the nation’s tightest restrictions on shale gas drilling, including best practices and a requirement for comprehensive planning.  I had the privilege of advising Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources on developing these standards - particularly the comprehensive planning requirementswhich would be the first in the nation if approved by the Governor and the state legislature. 

I caught some...let's just call it flak from one trolling organization for my involvement, but the results speak for themselves. 

Tough regulations are in the interest of the public, the environment, and the natgas industry. And I'm not alone in calling for them - and more

I’m gratified that my work for DNR was influential in developing these standards.  More important, I’m grateful to have worked for tremendous public servants – former Secretary John Griffin and current Secretary Joseph Gill, and with their staff at DNR. And to have interacted with their counterparts, Secretary Robert Summers and his staff at Maryland Department of the Environment

I’m also immensely respectful of Governor Martin O’Malley’s enlightened and exemplary approach to the potential for shale gas development in Maryland, and the hard, diligent, and exceptional work of his Advisory Commission

The reception these standards receive, and their ultimate fate, will be watched closely, and could have national impact.