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Near drought conditions impacting Marcellus shale gas drilling

Robert Magyar, Examiner
On Tuesday, as another round of record heat began pounding the mid-Atlantic region, the Susquehanna River Basin suspended 64 water withdrawal permits, the majority of these suspensions going to in state Marcellus shale gas drillers. As the Susquehanna River and its tributaries now face continued low water conditions, the suspensions were issued to 33 companies in total of which 27 were issued to shale gas drillers. Among them, Chesapeake Appalachia LLC, Talisman Energy, Chevron Appalachia, EXCO, XTO Energy, Cabot Oil & Gas and other drillers.

According to the Basin Commission, this week’s water withdrawal suspensions are close to all time state records. While a few local golf courses along with trout hatchery also received permit suspensions, the majority were applied to shale gas drillers…
(19 July 2012)

EPA study on fracking and water questioned

Ben Wolfgang, Washington Times
The oil and gas industry continues to cast doubt on the validity of an ongoing Environmental Protection Agency effort to determine potential links between fracking and water contamination.

The international research firm Battelle on Tuesday released a major new report on the EPA’s study methods, which many critics think is meant solely to demonize fossil fuels and provide political justification for sweeping new federal regulations. The American Petroleum Institute and the America’s Natural Gas Alliance commissioned the Battelle report, though neither organization would reveal how much they paid to have it done…
(10 July 2012)
Link to report

Gas drilling a boom for drug traffickers, too

Dane Schiller, Houston Chronicle
Energy companies boring into the depths of South Texas in the multibillion-dollar hunt for natural gas and oil are opening a growing fissure in U.S.-Mexico border security as they build hundreds of miles of private back roads and an uncharted pipeline to America for drug traffickers.

Hefty roads running through once-remote ranchlands now enable loaded-down tractor-trailers and pickups to avoid Border Patrol highway checkpoints that have long been the last line of defense for stopping all traffic headed farther into the United States.

Traffickers are seeking to use the southwest-most stretches of the massive Eagle Ford shale formation, which stretches from Mexico all the way to East Texas, to their advantage by trying to corrupt truck drivers, contractors and gate personnel…
(16 July 2012)

Shale Energy Divides French Government, Putting Ban In Question

Tara Patel, Bloomberg
Shale gas, an energy game changer in the U.S., is dividing the French government, raising the possibility the country may lift a ban on its exploration.

“It’s not a banned subject,” Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg said today in Paris. “We must confront it. For the moment, there is no government position.”

Montebourg, who is charged with reversing job losses and a decline in French industrial production, was speaking at a conference today attended by top executives of some of the country’s biggest companies, including energy explorer Total SA, a shale gas producer in the U.S. whose permit was revoked in France by the previous government…
(19 July 2012)