Chesapeake, the largest natural gas producer in Pennsylvania, is losing money. The current low price of gas will leave the company around $4 Billion in the red this year. Part of their response is to use a recent state Supreme Court ruling to justify charging landowners for the drilling and transportation expenses involved in extraction, reducing or eliminating all royalties. What was once a windfall to Pennsylvania communities is now becoming a burden, with Chesapeake now retroactively billing landowners for previous expenses. StateImpact Pennsylvania has written and recorded a thorough report on the issue.
On the relationship between energy companies and the Amish
[E]xtraction companies are buying up the rights to drill on private property with unprecedented speed. At stake are geysers of money. And in the thousands of cases in which the landowner is of the Amish faith, their business partner would never dream of taking them to court should things go awry. This, obviously, has enticed some companies to take advantage of Amish farmers—who are finally figuring out how to fight back.
Charles C. Mann writes for The Atlantic:
This perspective has a corollary: natural resources cannot be used up. If one deposit gets too expensive to drill, social scientists (most of them economists) say, people will either find cheaper deposits or shift to a different energy source altogether. Because the costliest stuff is left in the ground, there will always be petroleum to mine later. “When will the world’s supply of oil be exhausted?” asked the MIT economist Morris Adelman, perhaps the most important exponent of this view. “The best one-word answer: never.” Effectively, energy supplies are infinite.[more inside]
Described as the path to a new golden age of energy, hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking' is marketed as an economical, safe, and environmentally sustainable method. An investigation by the NY Times may suggest otherwise. Meanwhile, people throughout the country are faced with the prospect of drilling in their back yards. What are small communities to do? Ask the BLM to withdraw the leasing or perhaps just be ignored. Maybe its time to map the fight.
Pennsylvania has adopted what may be the most anti-democratic, anti-environmental law in the country, giving gas companies the right to drill anywhere, overturn local zoning laws, seize private property and muzzle physicians from disclosing specific health impacts from drilling fluids on patients. This American Life on fracking in Pennsylvania. Fracking: Anatomy of a Free Market Failure. Previously in Pennsylvania. [more inside]
One year after BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, a hydraulic fracturing operation in northern Pennsylvania experiences a blowout resulting in the release of fracking liquids. The use and chemical content of fracking liquids is a point of contention when debating what role natural gas will play in the future of energy.
Since last fall central Arkansas has experienced a mysterious swarm of earthquakes. It's clear that Arkansas has shaken in the past. But the sheer numbers are largely unprecedented and have been dubbed an earthquake swarm by the USGS. The Arkansas Geological Survey says that the quakes have nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing of the Fayetteville Shale. So do energy companies. Not everyone is convinced. [more inside]