There’s a big push for a pipeline in Philly. (Shutterstock)
If leaders in the energy sector have it their way, Philadelphia would become a world-class city for processing and exporting gas and liquids from the Marcellus and Utica Shales.
At the Shale Insight conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Wednesday and Thursday, executives “urged a sharp increase in pipeline capacity, which they said would enable the creation of a so-called “energy hub” in Philadelphia where an influx of cheap, plentiful gas would attract manufacturers and spark an economic resurgence in the region,” according to NPR’s State Impact. In fact, hydraulic fracturing and other techniques have made Pennsylvania the state with the second-highest gas production. Now it’s a matter of getting it where it needs to go. Read more »
Papal-themed environmentalist protesters near the Convention Center, site of this year’s Shale Insight conference. (Photo: Dan McQuade)
Everything in Philadelphia seems to be pope-themed this month — even the protests.
Activists dressed in homemade cassocks and mitres and held an anti-fracking demonstration near the Pennsylvania Convention Center this morning — protesting the Shale Insight conference being held today and tomorrow in Philadelphia.
“If you’re not going to shut down the conference, you might as well yell in their faces about it.” organizer Liz Arnold said outside the protest this morning. People walking in heard the message, apparently, though they were not convinced by it.
The shale industry is in a bit of a slump recently; the Inquirer reports the 69 drill rigs in Pennsylvania are operating at half of peak capacity. But energy companies want to turn Philadelphia into an energy hub by, in part, building a $2.5 billion pipeline. Read more »
Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco
1. Wolf, Frackers in Heated Dispute
The News: On the campaign trail, Gov. Tom Wolf promised to tax natural gas drilling in an effort to fund education. It was one of the key platforms that got him elected.
Now that Wolf is in office, members of Pennsylvania’s natural gas sector are questioning the governor’s commitment to the booming industry. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reports that they’re not too pleased with Wolf’s recent actions to propose stricter drilling rules to curb wastewater contamination and heavily fine companies for wrongdoing. In fact, Wolf’s regulators just imposed an $8.9 million fine against a gas operator, the largest ever in the state. Read more »
Photos | Jeff Fusco
New Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is continuing to undo moves former Gov. Tom Corbett made during his last year in office.
Wolf appeared at Benjamin Rush State Park in Far Northeast Philadelphia today to sign an order banning fracking in state parkland, reversing a move Corbett made last May. In his first week in office, Wolf voided two dozen “pending executive nominations” Corbett made late in his term. Today’s moratorium, effective immediately, forbids fracking leases on parks and forests owned or managed by the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
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States that depend on energy resources to power their economies and budgets are tightening their belts as the prices of oil and natural gas fall, but that won’t — and maybe shouldn’t — stand in the way of a new fracking tax in Pennsylvania, officials say.
Governor-elect Tom Wolf, who takes office in two weeks, won election in part on a promise to impose a 5 percent severance tax on natural gas production in Pennsylvania and use the revenues — he estimated as much as $1 billion — to restore funding to the state’s K-12 public schools. But a “glut” of natural gas production is driving prices lower, and Wall Street is casting a dubious eye on companies making big drilling investments in the Marcellus Shale.
Which raises the question: Did Pennsylvania — the only gas-producing state without an extraction tax — miss its moment to tax the fracking industry for the best benefit of its citizens?
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Governor-elect Tom Wolf won’t be following the lead of fellow Democrat Andrew Cuomo, who on Wednesday banned the practice of fracking in New York state.
Cuomo’s camp cited health and environmental concerns in deciding on a ban, but those issues won’t deter drilling in Pennsylvania, which like New York sits atop vast deposits of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale.
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In a policy decision that will no doubt be heard in Pennsylvania, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will ban fracking in the state. New York has had a de facto ban for several years, predating Cuomo’s administration.
Fracking in Pennsylvania is centered in the Marcellus Shale, which stretches from surrounding states into Western Pennsylvania and Northwestern New York. It was an issue in the governor’s race largely because of Tom Wolf’s push to tax fracking to fund schools.
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This weekend was the annual gathering of the Pennsylvania Society, where the cream of the state’s elite (and a few reporters) whisk themselves off to New York for frolicking and glad-handing. Here are four bits of important news that emerged:
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Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. announced today a $2.5 billion pipeline that will transport natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale to the Marcus Hook plant south of Philadelphia.
The plan, called Mariner East 2, will create a pipeline to take gases extracted via fracking from Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Eastern Ohio to the industrial complex at the former refinery in Marcus Hook. Philadelphia magazine’s Patrick Kerkstra recently wrote in the magazine about the possibility of Philadelphia becoming the country’s next energy hub.
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This morning on WHYY’s Radio Times, Philadelphia magazine deputy editor Patrick Kerkstra joined Mark Alan Hughes — professor of practice at PennDesign and faculty director of The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania — for a discussion of his October magazine feature on Philadelphia’s fracking-powered energy future.
Listen to the conversation with Hughes and host Marty Moss-Coane above, then check out Kerkstra’s piece, “Pipe Dreams: Philadelphia is on the verge of a fracking-powered industrial boom that could fundamentally reshape the city’s economy, landscape and image.”