The following is a schedule of projected dates and deadlines for completion of the final SGEIS:per Martens: 
  • August 2011—NYSDEC will review and incorporate the socio-economic and community impacts report into the SGEIS.  The Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel will meet on August 18.
  • September – October 2011—The 60-day public comment period will be open. The comment period will include recommendations by a NYSDEC-selected High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel.  The Panel will be tasked with developing recommendations for ensuring proper oversight and enforcement, establishing a permit fee structure, measuring socioeconomic impacts and funding infrastructure improvements.
  • October 2011-December 2011—NYSDEC will review public comments.
  • Early 2012—NYSDEC is projected to issue a final SGEIS for HVHF and begin accepting permit applications and issuing permits for drilling.
The Commissioner also stated that the DEC would not wait for the EPA  study to be completed. He believes that the DEC has already addressed the same issues in the SGEIS.

Crude bomb left on Oklahoma gas line, FBI says

By the CNN Wire Staff
August 10, 2011 8:57 p.m. EDT
Authorities used a water cannon to disrupt the device.
Authorities used a water cannon to disrupt the device.
  • The "potential explosive device" was disarmed and taken to a laboratory
  • A law enforcement official said the device included black powder and propane

(CNN) -- FBI agents are looking into who left what appeared to be a crude explosive device attached to a natural gas line in rural Oklahoma, the bureau said Wednesday.

The "potential explosive device" was found late Wednesday morning outside Okemah, about 70 miles east of Oklahoma City, the FBI's Oklahoma City bureau said in a statement. Bureau spokesman Clay Simmonds said authorities used a water cannon to disrupt the device and took it to a laboratory for examination.

"We don't have any leads at this moment. We're going to examine the device further and talk to people in the area," Simmonds told CNN.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol bomb technicians assisted in the operation, the FBI said.

A law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity told CNN the device was made up of black powder, propane and a timing device. The official could not assess how effective the device may have been or how much damage it might have caused.

CNN's Nick Valencia and Carol Cratty contributed to this report.

Well, a bit of good news is refreshing indeed and a word of warning that we still have work to do in education and planning. It looks like those of us interested in a balanced approach to drilling have made some gains in educating the public on the facts. We still need to continue learning ourselves and spreading the news to everyone that will listen about the benefits as well as risks of developing New York  and  Pennsylvania shale gas. A high tide floats all boats and I hear comments  that  the "gas rush " might last 10 years or less so it may not be worth developing the gas. The actual initial gold rush was shorter than that, and  the benefits are still obvious in our country, The northeast sure could use an influx of refreshing revenues and jobs , to the benefit of its weary tax payers. If we do the development wisely, aside from industrial risk which exists in every industry, we can expect controlled growth, wise use of resources and improved infrastructure in an area sorely in need of bridge and road repairs, not to mention schools and public buildings. Lets put our efforts into making this  a new start, it certainly is time we had a change of direction. JLCpulse

Poll: New Yorkers support drilling and jobs, but worried about environment
Written by: Joseph Spector ,Albany Bureau  10:59 AM, Aug. 11, 2011|

ALBANY -- Voters in New York support natural-gas drilling for its economic benefits more than they are concerned about its environmental risks, a poll today

By a 47 percent to 42 percent margin, New York voters said the economic benefits outweigh the environmental concerns, a
Quinnipiac University poll said.

Support for drilling was 51 percent to 39 percent among upstate voters and 52 percent to 35 percent among suburban New York City voters. But New York City voters opposed 50 percent to 38 percent.

Still, the poll showed how divided people are about the controversial hydraulic fracturing technique that New York regulators are reviewing. It's currently
prohibited until the state
Department of Environmental Protection completes its analysis.

By a 75 percent to 17 percent margin, voters believed natural-gas drilling would
create jobs. But by a 52 percent to 15 percent margin, voters believe
would damage the environment, with 33 percent undecided.

"Drill for the jobs, New Yorkers say, even though they're worried about the environmental effects of hydrofracking," said Maurice Carroll, director of the
Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Voters by a 59 percent to 29 percent margin supported a new tax on natural-gas drilling.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli proposed this week legislation that would require gas companies to pay a fee as part of the permitting process that could be tapped if any environmental accidents occurred.

The poll comes as a
U.S. Department of Energy panel today said energy companies should have to reveal the chemicals used in hydrofracking, with few exceptions, the Associated Press reported.Hydrofracking is a technique in which a mixof water, sand and chemicals is injected into gas-rich shale formations to break rock and unlock natural gas. The Marcellus Shale in the Southern Tier is deemed a gas-rich area that would be tapped if legalized in New York.

The Quinnipiac University poll surveyed 1,640 registered voters between Aug. 3-8. The poll has with a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points

Those familiar with this issue are aware of the Fracfocus web site where all of the fracking chemicals used are listed by company. We certainly think that there should be complete disclosure by all companies that may inject chemicals into the ground, or for that matter spray chemicals on the surface for any reason whatsoever. JLCpulse

2011-08-11) Reuters

By Ayesha Rascoe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Natural gas drillers should reveal all chemicals they use in the drilling technique called "fracking" used to tap deep shale reserves, a government panel said on Thursday, even though the risk of water pollution from the technique is "remote."

The U.S. Energy Department's natural gas advisory subcommittee urged regulators to require drillers to release more information about the impact of hydraulic fracturing, which is essential to tapping the nation's plentiful shale gas reserves.

The panel said in an interim report that it "shares the prevailing view that the risk of fracturing fluid leakage into drinking water sources through fractures made in deep shale reservoirs is remote."

"Nevertheless the subcommittee believes there is no economic or technical reason to prevent public disclosure of all chemicals in fracturing fluids, with an exception for genuinely proprietary information," the report said.

Some neighbors of drilling sites have claimed that fracking polluted their drinking water, and environmental groups and public health advocates have urged the government to require disclosure of chemicals used by drillers. But companies have insisted that they be allowed to safeguard that information because it is proprietary.

Critics and even some members of the industry have charged that companies have used intellectual property issues as an excuse to withhold information about fracking.

Tasked by the Obama administration with identifying steps to improve the safety of shale gas drilling, the seven-member panel outlined a series of recommendations for increasing transparency and strengthening oversight of the practice.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves injecting a mix of water, sand and chemicals into rock formations at a high pressures to release oil and gas.

Innovations in the technique have led to an explosion of shale gas development, but the expansion has also prompted public backlash. Environmental groups and some landowners believe that the practice has fouled drinking supplies, making livestock and children sick and tap water flammable.


In response to public concerns, some companies have begun releasing more details about the composition of fracking fluids, but the panel said "progress needs to be accelerated."

The panel's report called for the creation of a national database to compile information about shale gas wells.

The industry should also establish an organization to improve operating techniques, the report said.

"The specific thing that we believe industry can do and are on the path of doing is to more consistently and with a greater commitment push for best practices and measuring and disclosing the results of what they're doing in the field," John Deutch, the panel's chairman, told Reuters in a phone interview.

The release of more data will not only help to reassure the public, but will help regulators develop new rules and better address potential environmental hazards, Deutch said.

The report also calls for overhaul of the management of the millions of gallons of water used in the process and an update to rules to fully protect surface and ground water.

States and local governments should create systems to measure water quality prior to shale gas production, to better evaluate the impact, the report said.


Concerns over fracking have led to calls for more federal regulation, which is currently mostly exempt from oversight by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

While this matter was outside the scope of the panel, Deutch said "it is a subject that deserves examination."

"My own experience would say that for private lands, the differences around the country in terms of both geology and practice mean that states are really the place to begin," said Deutch, an MIT professor and former under secretary for energy in the Carter administration.

Industry and green groups have complained about the composition of panel, which is made up of academics, energy analysts and environmentalists.

The American Petroleum Institute, a major oil and gas trade group, has said the panel lacks a member with shale gas development expertise, while green groups have argued that most of the panel has financial ties to the oil and gas industry.

The panel, which gathered its information over 90 days, will hold a public meeting discussing its findings next week.

A final report from the group is due in November.

By Jack Kaskey - Aug 10, 2011 5:28 PM ET- Bloomberg News

Dow Chemical Co. Chief Executive Officer Andrew Liveris. Photographer: Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg

Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) spent a decade moving chemical production to the Middle East and Asia. Now it’s leading the biggest expansion ever seen back home in the U.S. as shale gas revives the industry’s economics.

Dow is among companies planning to build crackers, industrial plants typically costing $1.5 billion apiece that process hydrocarbons into ethylene and other synthetic materials. The new crackers will be the first to be built in the U.S. since 2001 and the largest wave of additional capacity, John Stekla, a director at Chemical Market Associates Inc., a Houston-based consultant, said in an interview.

Driving this renaissance is the plunge in the price of natural gas, used in crackers as a raw material, to a nine-year low. New drilling methods are opening up vast shale formations from Texas to West Virginia. U.S. chemical investments stemming from shale gas may top $16 billion, creating 17,000 jobs directly and another 400,000 indirectly, according to the American Chemistry Council, a Washington-based industry group.

“The U.S. now has investment-grade economics, and because of shale we are going to lock those economics in,” Dow Chief Executive Officer Andrew Liveris said. “We can grow our Americas base off our U.S. Gulf Coast assets. That is a big change.”

Dow will spend about $4 billion to construct a cracker near the Gulf Coast by 2017, reopen another in Louisiana, and build two propylene plants, Liveris said in a July 8 telephone interview from Dow’s Midland, Michigan, headquarters. That investment will supply ingredients for Dow plants making high- margin products such as paint additives and automotive plastics.

Appalachian Plant

Occidental Chemical Co., Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. and Formosa Plastics Corp. (1301) have said in the past nine months they too may build crackers on the Gulf Coast, while LyondellBasell Industries NV (LYB) may invest in one. Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) said in June it plans to build a cracker in Appalachia, the region’s first in half a century.

Shuttered crackers also are being reopened by companies such as Eastman Chemical Co. (EMN), and others are being expanded.

The flurry of announcements contrasts with the woes previously inflicted by volatile energy prices on the industry, culminating in LyondellBasell’s January 2009 bankruptcy filing. U.S. gas prices surged from about $2 per million British thermal units at the start of the decade to more than $14 in 2005. Gas for September delivery climbed 0.9 cent, or 0.2 percent, to $4.003 per million British thermal units as of 5:15 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Saudi Arabia

Liveris, who cut 10,000 jobs during the recession, shut three ethylene plants in Louisiana as he hastened his plan to move chemical operations to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, where gas prices were cheaper.

U.S. chemical-industry employment fell to 782,000 from a peak of 1.1 million in 1981, Kevin Swift, chief economist for the American Chemistry Council, said in an interview.

Dow, the world’s biggest maker of ethylene and polyethylene, employs 25,000 people in the U.S. The company will add 500 manufacturing and 2,500 construction jobs with its Gulf Coast expansion, said Liveris, who President Barack Obama appointed in June to co-chair the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, which is tasked with improving U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.

Plentiful Gas

Increased U.S. gas production has helped create a cost advantage over producers in Europe and Asia, where petrochemicals are made primarily from oil derivatives. Shale gas may account for 47 percent of total U.S. gas production in 2035, up from 16 percent in 2009, according to the Energy Information Administration.

“Everyone called the U.S. commodity chemical industry dead a few years ago,” Mark Demos, who helps manage $18 billion as a fund manager at Fifth Third Asset Management in Minneapolis, said in an interview. “All the sudden, with plentiful natural gas, the margin story in commodity chemicals looks pretty favorable.”

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization at Dow’s basic plastics business jumped 75 percent to $2.91 billion in 2010. Dow is on track to top that figure this year, earning $1.56 billion in the first half. LyondellBasell’s operating income from plastics and related materials surged 12-fold to $1.89 billion last year and was $1.11 billion in the first six months of 2011.

Gas Advantage

The gas advantage could help Dow and LyondellBasell earnings triple from their 2010 level, Robert Koort, a Houston- based analyst at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said in a report. All 12 analysts following LyondellBasell, which gets two-thirds of its revenue from commodity chemicals, rate the shares “buy.”

Still, environmental concerns may lead the government to restrict shale-gas drilling, which in turn could drive gas prices higher. Restrictions on exploration in New York and parts of Pennsylvania have increased chemical producers’ anxieties about their new plants, Peter Oosterveer, president of energy and chemicals at Fluor Corp., which builds crackers, said in an interview.

Food & Water Watch and the Natural Resources Defense Council are among environmental groups seeking full or partial bans on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which releases gas from shale-rock formations. The process, in which millions of gallons of chemically treated water are forced underground to free the gas, can contaminate drinking water, the groups say. The American Chemistry Council, which is funded by chemical producers, supports state-level oversight of fracking to address the public’s concerns.

Port Expansion

Demand may not support all the crackers currently on the drawing board, Oosterveer said. The price tag for each plant typically doubles once infrastructure and downstream plants that make polyethylene and polypropylene are included, he said.

Meanwhile, the shift in the industry is already being felt at the Port of New Orleans, which is expanding after chemical exports jumped 34 percent last year, Chris Bonura, a port spokesman, said in an interview.

U.S. exports of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC plastic, have tripled since 2006, said Paul Carrico, CEO of Georgia Gulf Corp. (GGC) More than 20 percent of plastics output was exported last year, double the level recorded before the recession, Swift said. U.S. chemical exports exceeded imports last year for the first time in a decade, he said.

Shale gas has been a “game changer,” Swift said. “The U.S. has emerged as a low-cost producer of many of these products.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Jack Kaskey in Houston at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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