Impact of the Impact Fee: PA IFO Releases 2018 Impact Fee Figures

Pennsylvania’s Independent Financial Office has released a report summarizing the performance of the impact fee in 2018. The report, which is released annually, discloses revenue figures generated from impact fee collections, as well as explaining the formula used to calculate the fee. Additionally, the IFO discusses its projections for revenues in the next calendar year.

Rail Traffic Linked to Chemical Production

While natural gas is not considered a chemical, it is a
feedstock for the chemical industry. Natural gas is used to make chemical such
as ethaline, propylene, and methanol – which are all chemicals that are widely
used in manufacturing to create items that we use on a daily basis. Chemicals derived from natural gas tend to be manufactured near
supplies. While Beaver County, PA has an ethane cracker plant currently under construction,
there are other local chemical producing plants utilizing natural gas. According to the AAR, the chemical/energy hubs near the Ohio River Valley,
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are already the third largest
chemical production markets served by railroads; this is before Shell’s ethane
cracker plant begins production.

Wasted Energy: Texas’ Surplus of NG Emphasizes Need for Pipeline Infrastructure

Texas is home to the second-largest natural gas producing shale basin in the United States: the 86,000 square mile Permian basin. Though second in natural gas production, it is the top oil-producing shale formation in the nation, producing 8.52 million barrels of shale oil daily. While still operating as a top shale gas producer, the industry has shifted its focus to oil, wasting natural gas in the process.

EQT Violations Raise Awareness for Sedimentation Control

In dealing with the Municipal Separate Strom Sewer System (MS4), which are state-level stormwater requirements to meet federal Clean Water Act standards, and its permitting requirements, local communities understand better than most how important sediment control is to water quality and how strictly these permitting requirements are regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Local governments, however, are not the only sector beholden to state-level stormwater permitting and regulation. Recently, EQT was fined just over $330,000 for a series of DEP permit violations including failure to control sedimentation runoff, as well as failure to report the runoff. The violations were discovered in February of 2018 in Forward Township, Allegheny County. EQT, based in Pittsburgh, is the country’s largest producer of natural gas.

What are “Superemitters” & Why are they Important to Keeping PA’s Air Clean?

The rapid development of the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania has induced a series of new concerns for those living in the state and Marcellus region. Of these worries, emissions from well sites have garnered much attention, particularly methane emissions. Methane is one of the main components of the natural gas harvested through unconventional drilling’s hydraulic fracturing process. Though extractors have safeguards to prevent any leakage of the gas, these systems do have failures. The EPA reports that the natural gas and petroleum industry were responsible for 31% of the total methane emissions in 2017, the highest of any category recorded.

Report Finds Devaluation of Homes Near Pipelines

A recent study indicates that homes built near and around pipelines face potential devaluation. Published in the journal Resource and Energy Economics, the study entitled Shale gas transmission and housing prices used real estate data in New York State to study the correlation between home values and pipeline infrastructure. The researchers chose New York as it is home to the Constitution Pipeline, a 125 mile long pipeline which transports natural gas from the Marcellus Shale basin in Pennsylvania to Albany, New York. Their work was extensive, but the most interesting conclusion stemmed from their comparison between home values pre-announcement of the Constitution Pipeline and post-announcement. Though they found from previous research that home values in the area were increasing pre-announcement, the trend was reversed post-announcement.

Pennsylvania Joins National Coalition to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Governor Tom Wolf announced that the Commonwealth has signed on to the U.S. Climate Alliance. The U.S. Climate Alliance is a bipartisan agreement that commits states to initiate and implementing carbon reduction policies. Currently, there are 24 state signatories. Governor Wolf also released a plan outlining the state’s efforts toward the initiative. The plan includes short-term and long-term goals, aiming at reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 26 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050. Much of the plan criticizes fossil fuels, their negative impact on the environment and climate, and our current dependency on them.

Natural Gas Plays Key Role in American Energy Mix

Pennsylvania’s natural gas plays a key role in shoring up the nation’s energy security by helping support diversity in the nation’s energy mix. Energy mix is a term used describe the various primary energy sources used to meet a region’s energy needs that include electricity generation, heating, and transportation fuel. The idea of energy mix can be further broken down into categories like power generation mix, the proportion of different energy sources that are used to create energy, which will be further discussed below. Having secure and reliable electricity supplies are important. Most everything we consume, use, and services that we use rely on electricity.

Gov. Wolf’s Restoration Plan Aims to Benefit PA Parks with new Shale Gas Tax

The 121 parks that make up the Pennsylvania State Park system hope to receive a facelift in the coming years. However, funding for that facelift is contingent upon the passage of Governor Tom Wolf’s “Restore Pennsylvania” infrastructure plan—a $4.5 billion initiative funded through a new severance tax on unconventional natural gas. The State Legislature has rejected the establishment of a severance tax multiple times in the past. According to officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the agency that oversees Pennsylvania’s State Parks, facilities throughout the system are in dire need of renovation. A number of picnic areas, restrooms, and bathhouses are old, outdated, and/or unsafe for public use.