Protests planned for tonight’s Dept. of Energy meeting

Monday, 13 June 2011 09:21
Written by Laura Olson

– Tonight’s public meeting of the U.S. Department of Energy shale task force in Washington County drew headlines on Friday — and is expected to draw protests this evening. The P-G and other news organizations reported on Friday that the northeastern PA branch of Energy In Depth, an oil and gas industry lobbying firm, offered pro-drilling landowners in that region free transportation, lodging, food and other incentives to trek across the state to attend the meeting. The group defended the offer, saying that the federal panel is supposed to be reviewing the entire Marcellus activity, and that they would do what’s necessary “to have our voices heard.” At least one anti-drilling group has a pre-meeting protest planned (they were skeptical of the panel’s make-up before the free-travel headlines). Here’s the official meeting notice, with time and location for the event.

– Federal officials have given permission to one company to begin exporting natural gas – a first that raised concerns from those who note that the U.S. imports 10 percent of its natural gas needs, writes the Tribune-Review. They took a look at that decision in a Sunday article – and talked to those in counties that acts as hubs for transmission lines in a piece today.

– Another forum on Pennsylvania drilling is scheduled for tonight, but this one is in Bath, N.Y. Officials there want to import Marcellus Shale “cuttings,” or the rock and dirt removed during drilling, from Pennsylvania well sites. Opponents say the debris can contain radioactive elements, but state officials say they can be buried safely at the landfill.

West Virginia legislators are urging a special session there, to allow them to work on Marcellus Shale regulations as they finish drawing new Congressional boundaries. The Parkersburg News and Sentinel writes that the Legislature there attempted to pass bills on environmental concerns, property rights and other issues, but none were signed into law.