Monday, July 9, 2012

Pennsylvania's Shale Lessons Should Benefit Ohio as Boom Continues

From the Zanesville Times Recorder:

Avoiding problems in Ohio

Much of what happened in Pennsylvania will not happen in Ohio, Pitzarella said, because the company already has fielded the complaints and made the adjustments. 
"It's like a toddler taking its first steps," he said. "When my wife and I had our first child it was a totally different experience than when we had our second child -- for us and the child." 
Chesapeake Energy, which has about 1.36 million acres worth of leases in the Utica Shale, doesn't dispute that oil and gas work can be noisy and sometimes inconvenient for the people in close proximity. 
"We stay in contact with the local residents and take steps to minimize any inconvenience through the use of sounds walls, directional lighting and other measures to address issues that may impact quality of life near a drill site," spokesman Pete Kenworthy said. 
Drilling violations were common in Washington County, although they recently have slowed. 
Range has committed 120 environmental, health or safety violations in Washington County alone and paid $1.6 million in fines dating back to May 2006. The company has been cited 26 times, although not since February 2011, for polluting surface water in the county. 
Landowners can request water testing from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection if they suspect shale drilling contaminated their source, Range spokesman Kevin Sunday said. 
In some cases, methane has migrated into private drinking water supplies, Sunday said. About a year ago, Pennsylvania fined Chesapeake Energy $900,000 for contaminating private water because of "improper well casing and cementing in shallow zones," a news release states. 
However, as oil and gas supporters often note, DEP has found no evidence of hydraulic fracturing itself causing water sources to be fouled, Sunday said. 
"There will no doubt be ups and downs for Ohio," Pitzarella said. "It is our desire as an industry -- even for a company (Range) that is not involved in Ohio -- for that to go smoothly."
Read the entire article here.

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