Responsible Drilling Alliance

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Tom Corbett on drilling, & other gas news – Dec. 13th 2010 Newsletter

300 years of fossil fuels in 300 seconds

Despite government and industry claims to the contrary, natural gas is not a “bridge fuel” to energy independence or alternative resources.  RDA suggests you spend 5 minutes watching this clever video produced by the Post Carbon Institute.  Rated G – be sure to share with your children and grandchildren! Click here to watch the video.

Frackers have a friend in Pennsylvania

The future of our state forests lies in the hands of PA’s new governor-elect, Tom Corbett. At this point – things don’t look good. Corbett says he doesn’t agree with Governor Rendell’s executive order that places 800,000 of state forestland off-limits to drilling. Instead, Corbett’s plan outlines a strategy for gradually opening these publicly held lands to drillers. Currently, 49% of our state forest is already leased, but the energy giants want more. With both the PA House and Senate in Republican hands, blocking Corbett’s intentions will be an uphill battle

$6 billion dollars and 70,000 jobs at stake

Rendell’s executive order to ban further leasing of state forest came after an extensive and scientific evaluation of the state forest system by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. This rigorous evaluation found that any additional leases would risk the independent certification that Pennsylvania manages its forests in a sustainable manner, which is vital to the state’s nearly $6 billion forest products industry that employs around 70,000 people. Corbett’s argument that drilling on additional commonwealth land is a good economic decision is suspect. Could giving the gas industry claim to our forests be related to a very different kind of economics?  In the final analysis, Corbett accepted nearly $900,000 from gas drilling companies.  Does Corbett intend to use our woodlands and state parks as a way to even the score?

Corbett’s transition team

Although Tom Corbett has said he wants to develop the Marcellus Shale gas deposits as a long-term economic venture while maintaining environmental protections, one prominent theme of the team he chose to advise him seems to be “conflict of interest”. Committee members include: Peter Gleason. A lobbyist from Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Gates who represents Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. and Chesapeake.  (Cabot is currently at odds with DEP over whether the company’s natural gas drilling is responsible for water supply contamination in Dimock Twp.) Stanley Rapp. A lobbyist with Greenlee Partners who represents Range Resources, CNX Gas Corp. and NextEra Energy Resources. Rapp also represents PPL. Pam Witmer. A lobbyist with Bravo Group who represents Chief Oil and Gas, Chief Gathering LLC and RRI Energy. John Oliver. Former DCNR secretary under Gov. Tom Ridge. (The gas industry has a $900,000 contract with Ridge’s consulting firm, the Ridge Policy Group.) George Ellis. President of the Pennsylvania Coal Association. John Rich, owner of a coal waste power plant in Schuylkill County.

Speak to the chairman

David Kleppinger is the Chair of the Energy & Environment Committee within Corbett’s Transition Team. He is an attorney with McNees Wallace and Nurick, a Harrisburg firm that lobbies for the Industrial Energy Consumers of Pennsylvania and represents large commercial and industrial consumers and providers of utility services.  RDA urges you to send Kleppinger an email expressing your opinion on leasing of state lands and other Marcellus-related concerns. Contact him at: dkleppinger@mwn.com

EPA says gas driller contaminated Texas aquifer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued an emergency order accusing a Texas gas driller of contaminating an aquifer. EPA’s notification gave Range Resources 48 hours to provide clean drinking water to affected residents and take steps to resolve the problem. The EPA and the Texas Railroad Commission began inspecting wells in August after receiving complaints from residents in North Texas’ Parker County. Explosive methane and other contaminants, including cancer-causing benzene, were found two wells. The federal agency says the order was issued because the state didn’t respond quickly enough. Range Resources, a company with significant drilling activity in PA, denies being the source of the contamination.

Quote of the week

“We’re trying to figure out what makes sense so that people are reasonably protected.” Representative Garth Everett of PA’s 84th District This quote is the response given to a woman concerned about protecting her drinking water well. The exchange occurred last week in Picture Rocks at Representative Everett’s 4th and final public meeting on Marcellus Shale.  At each meeting, Rep. Everett made it tersely clear to those in attendance that no debate was permitted. RDA would have liked to ask, “How do you define reasonable protection, and would it not make more sense to figure out these drinking water protections before more drilling permits are issued?”

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