Source: http://science.nbcnews.com, May 16, 2013
By: John Roach
The current boom in U.S. natural gas production from glassy shale rock formations is poised to usher in an era of energy independence and could bridge the gap between today’s fossil-fuel age and a clean-energy future. But that future may be swamped in a legacy of wastewater, a new study suggests.
Natural gas production is soaring thanks to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a technique that shoots several million gallons of water laced with chemicals and sand deep underground to break apart chunks of the glassy rock, freeing trapped gas to escape through cracks and fissures into wells.
An average of 10 percent of this water flows back to the surface within a few weeks of the frack job. The rest is absorbed by the surrounding rock and mixes with briny groundwater, explained Radisav Vidic, a civil and environmental engineer at the University of Pittsburgh.
“What happens to that water is a very good question,” he told NBC News. “We would like to know how much of it stays in the shale, and for how long, and is there a potential for migration away from the well.”
Vidic led a review study of the scientific literature looking into these questions, which is published in Thursday’s issue of the journal Science.…
Source: http://theenergycollective.com, April 30, 2013
By: Grant McDermott
In planning my series on the environmental impacts of natural gas for The Energy Collective, I had always intended for my third post to cover the critical issue of water needs. While climate concerns may dominate for some (see my previous posts), it seems fair to say that the most contentious aspect of the shale gas revolution is related to fears over high water demands and contamination risks posed by hydraulic fracturing, i.e. “fracking”.
Unfortunately for me, Jesse Jenkins inadvertently pre-empted my article with a great recent post asking how much water is actually consumed by fracking for shale gas? (Short answer, probably not nearly as much as you think.) While I don’t wish to reproduce Jesse’s article verbatim, I think a recapitulation of his main points is in order:
Source: http://www.wicz.com, April 30, 2013
A response wasn’t long in coming, following the latest bit of news on a very controversial subject. Just one day after the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said methane found in private water wells in Franklin Forks Township was naturally occuring and not the result of natural gas development, one of the homeowners whose well was tested still has questions.
Tammy Manning said she’d like to see the tests themselves that the DEP conducted and not just the results.
She says the agency isn’t making those tests available.
“Very vague. I think they’re not giving us the full information. I asked them for the test results and how they determine that and they won’t give it to me,” said Tammy Manning. Franklin Forks Township resident.
A spokesperson for the DEP says while the tests aren’t available to the public, a homeowner would likely have a chance to see them. A spokesperson for Energy-In-Depth, an industry-funded group, says the DEP investigation closes the door on the idea the methane migration in Franklin Forks was due to gas drilling.
Manning says she might have her water tested privately.
Pennsylvania environmental regulators on Monday concluded that Marcellus Shale drilling was not responsible for a high-profile case of methane contamination of private water wells in northeastern Pennsylvania.
The state Department of Environmental Protection said it has closed the books on an investigation of the methane migration in Franklin Forks, Pa., which anti-drilling celebrities Yoko Ono and Susan Sarandon visited in January.
Citing a 125-page consultant’s report, DEP says the methane in some residents’ wells is naturally occurring shallow gas, not production gas from well drilling.
Matthew and Tammy Manning last year sued WPX Energy, the company that drilled gas wells about 4,000 feet from their Susquehanna County home.
Source: The Washington Times, April 29, 2013
By: Ben Wolfgang
After a 16-month investigation, state regulators Monday said that natural gas fracking, contrary to highly publicized claims, isn’t to blame for high methane levels in three families’ drinking water in a northern Pennsylvania town.
For fracking proponents, it was another piece of good news. The oil and gas industry still was unwrapping the federal government’s acknowledgment that fracking isn’t nearly as harmful to the environment as it previously claimed. By dramatically lowering its methane emissions estimates from natural gas drilling sites, the Environmental Protection Agency has made it much more difficult to argue that the fracking boom is accelerating climate change.
The developments Monday in Franklin Forks, Pa., also will make it much more difficult to argue that the wildly successful drilling method is harmful to drinking water.
The state’s Department of Environmental Protection now says there is no evidence to connect natural gas drilling with high levels of methane in private water wells in the small town, which sits within the Marcellus Shale region, one of the largest known natural gas deposits in the world and exhibit A of how fracking is transforming the American energy landscape.
The agency specifically says the gas is coming from elsewhere.
“The testing determined that the water samples taken from the private water wells contained gas of similar isotopic makeup to the gas in water samples taken from Salt Springs State Park,” which contains high levels of naturally occurring methane, the DEP said in a statement.…
Source: http://www.lexology.com, April 22, 2013
By: John B. Berringer, Reed Smith LLP
After a spate of bad decisions for policyholders on whether general liability policies can ever provide coverage for construction liabilities, three courts, in the past few weeks, have done an about-face, holding that there is coverage in certain circumstances for such liabilities.
Relying on the subcontractor exception to the “your work” exclusion, the Second Circuit has ruled that a general liability policy provides coverage for liability sustained by a swimming pool installer on account of cracks that developed in the pools following installation. The appellate court reversed the district court, which had relied on an earlier Second Circuit decision in finding that defects in the insured’s workmanship could not be considered “accidents.”
On appeal, the policyholder argued that the language of the exception to the “own work” exclusion for work “performed on [the insured’s] behalf by a sub-contractor” demonstrated that in some circumstances the insured’s own work is covered. The Second Circuit agreed, “As coverage is limited by the policy to ‘occurrences’ and defects in the insured’s own work in some circumstances are covered, these policies . . . unmistakably include defects in the insured’s own work within the category of an ‘occurrence’.” Scottsdale Ins. v. R. I. Pools, 11-3529-cv (2d Cir. March 21, 2013). The Second Circuit remanded the case for a determination of whether the “sub-contractor” exception applied.
Following on the heels of the Scottsdale decision, the North Dakota Supreme Court overruled an earlier decision and held that property damage caused by faulty workmanship “may constitute an ‘occurrence’ if the faulty work was ‘unexpected’ and not intended by the insured, and the property damage was not anticipated or intentional, so that neither the cause nor the harm was anticipated, intended or expected. This is consistent with our definition of ‘accident’ for purposes of a CGL policy.” K&L Homes v. American Family Mutual Ins. Co., 2013 ND 57 (April 5, 2013).…