Gas at a glance
DEP orders Catalyst Energy to stop gas operations
The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued a cease and desist order to Catalyst Energy Inc. that prohibits the company from conducting all drilling and hydro-fracturing operations for the 36 non-Marcellus wells within 2,500 feet of two homes in the Yellow Hammer area of Hickory Township, Forest County. A DEP investigation confirmed that private water supplies serving the two homes had been contaminated by natural gas and elevated levels of iron and manganese from Catalyst’s operations. Catalyst must conduct an investigation to determine which wells may be responsible for the gas migration. That responsibility is part of Pennsylvania’s more stringent regulations, which went into effect Feb. 5, related to well construction and gas migration cases. Catalyst must also provide temporary whole-house water systems to the homes and either permanently restore or replace the water supplies by July 1. The company is required to submit a gas migration status report to DEP every ten days, which provides information on the progress of the investigation. The 22 wells in question are combination oil
and gas wells with an average depth of 1,500 to 3,000 feet.
Poll: 70% support gas tax, 65% say no to state forest leasing
According to PA Environment Digest, a recent poll by Susquehanna Polling found 70% of those polled support a Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction tax, including 62% of registered Republicans. A week earlier, a poll by Franklin & Marshall College found 62% of those surveyed support the tax. The new poll found 65% of voters were against opening any more state forest land to drilling. Only 17% supported continued budget cuts to the Department of Environmental Protection, which now has General Fund support below 1994 levels.