December 28, 2011 —
Natural gas pipeline safety bill signed into law
PA Gov. Tom Corbett has signed into law House Bill 344 (Baker-R-Tioga) establishing regulatory oversight of natural gas pipelines to the Public Utility Commission (PUC), as reported in PA Environment Digest.
The new law authorizes the PUC to conduct safety inspections and investigations of natural gas pipelines within the Commonwealth in coordination with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration. Rep. Matt Baker noted that the new law will also give the PUC the power to regulate natural gas pipelines without having to deem them a public utility.
Therefore, the power of eminent domain is not extended. The law also provides for the hiring of additional safety inspectors.
Baker said money to hire the anticipated 12 or more inspectors will come from both federal funding and the gas industry through assessments outlined in the legislation.
Forum to focus on Marcellus Shale drilling impacts on forests
“Oil and Gas Development Impacts on Forested Ecosystems: Research and Management Challenges” will be studied April 9-10 as part of the Pennsylvania State University Goddard Forum, University Park. The conference targets scientists, managers, conservation organizations and industry representatives who are working with oil and gas development to share research results and management strategies.
Presentations by both managers and scientists are encouraged. Topics should include the full range of forest issues, including landscape modification, forest water, air, habitat, roads, timber supply, recreation impacts, invasive species, noise, landscape restoration, management and monitoring strategies, and other topics focused on forests. Attendees wishing to offer papers must submit proposals by January 27.
Include title, names and affiliations of all authors, and contact information for the primary author with an abstract of no more than 350 words. Submit abstract by email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
NYC Bar Association comments on local law issues in DEC’s dSGEIS
The New York City Bar Association is an organization of over 23,000 lawyers and judges. Its committees on Environmental Law and on Land Use Planning and Zoning, which deliberate on legal and policy issues relating to the environment and to land use planning and zoning, respectively, have submitted comments to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to convey the Association’s position regarding local law issues in the Revised Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement for high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale. See the comments at www2.nycbar.org/pdf/report/uploads/20072221-CommenttoRevisedDraftSupplementalGenericEnvironmentalImpactStatementonOilGasandSolutionMiningRegulation.pdf.
EOG Resources pays $367,335 in settlements for four pollution events
In its fourth settlement in 2011, EOG Resources, a Houston, TX drilling company, has agreed to pay a $93,710 settlement to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) as a result of the company’s pollution of Clearfield County’s Little Laurel Run in late 2010. Investigations determined that the substances the company released were deleterious, destructive or poisonous to fish. The substances first entered Little Laurel Run on December 13, 2010, and affected the creek through March 22, 2011. EOG also agreed to pay an additional $65,000 towards an environmental project of the PFBC’s choosing in the Laurel Run watershed. In April, the company settled charges involving three separate pollution incidents in Clearfield County.
Between August 25 and October 30, 2009, EOG allowed fluid from a pit to enter Alex Branch and its tributaries. EOG paid $99,125 for this incident. On Oct. 10 and 11, 2009, EOG allowed well wash fluid containing surfactant to enter Alex Branch and its tributaries. EOG paid $10,000 for this incident. Between June 3 through August 16, 2010, EOG allowed gas and a mixture of fresh water and well flowback water to flow into Little Laurel Run. EOG paid $99,500 for this incident. The PFBC hosts a toll-free hotline for the public to report suspected pollution incidents or fish kills (855/347-4545).