February 28, 2011

Pa. suspends air pollution controls at drilling sites

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA), February 26, 2011
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

Just a week after repealing a policy requiring an environmental assessment of Marcellus Shale gas well permit proposals in state parks, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has announced it is suspending and reconsidering key air pollution controls governing the drilling industry.

The latest policy changes, detailed in today’s Pennsylvania Bulletin where official state actions are listed, would eliminate a December guideline that regulates emissions from all well operations in a region together, which could result in stricter pollution controls than if the wells are regulated individually.

The department is soliciting public comments on “whether any guidance or policy should be considered on this topic, and, if so, what such a policy or guidance might provide

The DEP also is seeking public comment on a policy adopted last summer that regulates emissions from non-road, “stationary engines,” including natural gas compressor station engines, which can be diesel or natural gas-powered and can be sources of smog producing emissions.

“This is troubling,” said Jan Jarrett, president and chief executive officer of Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, a statewide environmental group that has campaigned for a state severance tax on Marcellus Shale gas production. “These are the first Marcellus policies the Corbett administration is trotting out and it appears they are all rolling back environmental protections related to the gas industry.”…

February 17, 2011

Well Water Contaminated in NY

Read here about an energy company in Denver denies responsibility for water contamination in New York.…

February 15, 2011

Gas Driller Sued by NY Families

Read here about how and why nine families in Elmira, NY sued a gas driller.…

February 2, 2011

Jury awards BP workers $100 million in lawsuit

Source: http://www.txattorneys.com, December 18, 2009
By: Juan A. Lozano, Houston Chronicle

A federal jury Friday awarded more than $100 million to 10 workers who claimed they were injured in 2007 when a toxic substance was released at BP PLC’s Texas City plant.

The jurors in Galveston, about 50 miles southeast of Houston, gave each contract worker $10 million in punitive damages. Nine of the workers were also awarded between $5,000 and $10,000 for pain and suffering and medical expenses, while the 10th got more than $240,000.

The verdict came after 1 1/2 days of deliberations following a three-week trial.…

December 16, 2010

PA Company Fined for Air Quality Violations

Read here about a Pennsylvania company that was fined for air quality violations.

December 16, 2010

Driller to Pay in Tainted Water Case

Read here about a driller that will pay some Pennsylvania residents over tainted water.

November 23, 2010

Energy and Environmental Insurers Eye New Business in Marcellus Shale Area

Publication Date 11/22/2010
Source: BestWire Services

Energy and environmental insurers are eagerly eyeing an emerging energy boom: the development of the Marcellus shale natural gas area.

“It’s a major, major find that I think will impact the energy market not only locally, but globally,” said Chris Moscardelli, director of Societe Generale’s energy project finance group. “The Marcellus shale play has the potential to revolutionize energy in the United States.”

Marcellus shale is a rock formation that underlies about two-thirds of Pennsylvania and portions of New York, West Virginia and Ohio. The rock lies about 5,000 to 8,000 feet under ground, and some estimate it potentially could provide enough natural gas to fulfill the United States’ needs for years. The rising cost of oil, coupled with advances in technology needed to tap the gas, has resulted in a boom of natural gas wells being built in the Northeast.

While many in the industry may consider the south the heart of the energy business, the Northeast is gaining prominence, and bringing new geographical risks to the market.…

September 3, 2010

Thieves Damage Transformer Releasing PCBs

Acknowledgement to Great American

A financial institution was preparing a foreclosed site for re-sale. While the facility was unoccupied thieves broke into the structure in an attempt to steal wiring and copper piping. In the process the thieves damaged a transformer releasing PCB containing oil to the floor. The financial institution was responsible for the clean-up of the contaminated concrete and soils.…

August 11, 2010

Heavy Metal Contamination from Coal-Fired Power Plant

Acknowledgement to XL Environmental

An XL-insured coal-fired power plant stored baghouse dusts containing heavy metals in an uncovered dumpster behind the facility. Whenever it rained, storm water mixed with the dust, forming a slurry, which eventually migrated off-site. Contamination to an adjoining, third-party property was determined to have occurred over the course of several years. These releases were identified during a regulatory agency compliance inspection.

XL’s environmental claims counsel and a technical consultant handled the claim for our insured. Off-site soil sampling demonstrated high levels of lead, cadmium and mercury heavy metal concentrations. The contamination was determined to be storm water run-off from the dumpster. The regulatory agency issued a $400,000 fine, required additional site investigation and remediation to the adjacent property.

XL also helped the insured assess its other facilities for the same issue and retained a third-party consultant who issued recommendations in an effort to help prevent a similar occurrence at other insured locations.

The insured’s Pollution and Remediation Legal Liability Policy paid in excess of $250,000 in a settlement for the costs and expenses associated with remediation of the adjacent property. An early settlement of the claim helped to preserve the insured’s policy limits. The insured also implemented the third-party consultant’s recommendations for its other facilities.…

July 23, 2010

Coal Ash Cleanup Angers Tennessee Residents

A breach in a huge coal ash storage facility that released 54 million cubic yards of toxic laden ash into the Emory River in Kingston, Tennessee and a nearby neighborhood has residents worried about their health, lost property values and the slow cleanup by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The Environmental Protection Agency recently assumed oversight of the cleanup. Once estimated to be a five-year cleanup, the EPA now plans to remove the majority of ash from the river by mid-2010. TVA has settled 50 personal claims with residents and businesses, but seven lawsuits are pending in federal court, including some that seek class-action status.  To date, the Authority has spent $108 million on the cleanup and estimates the final tab could reach nearly $1 billion.…