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Shale Gas Development and the Environment. George Jugovic, Jr. Chief Counsel, PennFuture. Shale Gas Development and the Environmental. Air Quality Shallow Groundwater Special Protection Watersheds Public Lands Transparency Data Collection. Air Quality. Flaring

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Shale Gas Development and the Environment

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shale gas development and the environment

Shale Gas Developmentand the Environment

George Jugovic, Jr.

Chief Counsel, PennFuture

shale gas development and the environmental
Shale Gas Developmentand the Environmental
  • Air Quality
  • Shallow Groundwater
  • Special Protection Watersheds
  • Public Lands
  • Transparency
  • Data Collection
air quality
Air Quality


Study by Ceres group of investors using figures from North Dakota Industrial Commission indicates that 29% of gas produced in May 2013 was flared, down from high of 36% in September 2011. In 2012 equivalent of 1 billion gas burned and GHG emissions of putting 1 million cars on the road

air quality1
Air Quality

NOx Emissions

1 hour NAAQS - 100 ppb short term exposure to avoid adverse health effects (Jan 2010)

Evidence of degraded air quality in other gas fields across the country

DEP SWRO has permitted equivalent of two coal fired power plants in the past eight years

Lack of modeling because considered minor source

Lack of monitoring in most active areas

shallow groundwater
Shallow Groundwater


NETL study preliminary results being evaluated

Single well in one geologic location

Pennsylvania geology variable across the shale play

More studies needed to assure public

special protection watersheds
Special Protection Watersheds

Pipeline Crossings

High Quality and Exceptional Value streams

2 Million persons fish annually; 1.6 Billion pumped into economy yearly (PAFBC)

Renewable resource

Anti-degredation policy

Cumulative impacts

shallow groundwater1
Shallow Groundwater

Methane Leakage

Estimated 300,000 abandoned wells

Complex geology complicated by underground coal mines, abandoned wells, and shallow gas

Lack of construction standards for drinking water wells

shallow groundwater2
Shallow Groundwater

On-site Disposal Practices

RCRA exemption for oil and gas wastes

PA Residual waste

No permit required for disposal

DEP authorized on-site disposal; 200 feet from stream; 20 inches above groundwater; remove liquid; wrap in liner; no long-term monitoring

public lands state forest system
Public LandsState Forest System

1895 – Dr. Joseph Rothrock became the first commissioner

1897 – General Assembly passed law authorizing the purchase of “unseated lands for forest reservations”

1930s – Department of Forest and Waters began purchasing what would become the Loyalsock State Forest from Pennsylvania Lumber Company

public lands mineral rights
Public LandsMineral Rights

60% forested

Pennsylvania state forests one of largest in east - 2.1 million acres.

About 2/3 or 1.5 million sits on the Marcellus shale

The state owns about 70% of mineral rights beneath state forests; only 30% state parks

385,400 acres of state forest land has been leased for drilling; DCNR informal policy seeks to prevent drilling in State Parks

public lands economic value
Public LandsEconomic Value

2010 DCNR Park Study

33.6 million people visited State Parks; spent $738 million direct payments

$463 million sales

8,439 jobs

2006 Outdoor Wildlife Survey

87.5 million hunted, fished or recreated

$122.3 billion dollars

public lands threats
Public LandsThreats

Forest fragmentation

Erosion and sedimentation

Loss of habitat


Case 1: Loyalsock State Forest

114,494 acres

Clarence Moore tracts consists of 25,000 that contains some of the most ecologically sensitive areas in PA

Clarence Moore purchased the mineral rights from Pennsylvania Lumber Company

Anadarko Petroleum own the rights


DCNR asserts it must allow access because of implied right of easement

Conservationists assert an unusual lease provision terminated surface access on 18,000 acres

The remaining 7,000 not accessible without an easement

DCNR budget already accounted for the amount of money that Anadarko offered to resolve surface access dispute


Anadarko submitted development plan in March 2012

Still has not been released to publicfor comment

DCNR refused to hold any public hearings for over one year

April 2013, DCNR offered a meeting to hand-selected groups and individuals

May 22, 2013, DCNR finally agreed to an open public meeting, held on June 4


No public planning process

No comprehensive environmental impact statement (mini-NEPA)

No obligation to hold public hearings

No plain right to administrative hearing from DCNR actions


Case 2: waste management records

Act 13 requires maintenance of detailed records for waste management

No obligation to submit records to DEP unless requested

Public has no access under RTKL unless submitted to agency

data collection
Data Collection

Serious lack of data on important issues affecting the environment

Public policy decisions should be based on scientific facts

No long-term air monitoring plan in areas with most drilling

No comprehensive shallow aquifer data

No reporting of methane releases

No data on frack fluid migration

NETL study on frack fluid migration

PSU study on forest fragmentation