Posts Tagged ‘Allegheny County’

MSC Statement on Non-Marcellus Shallow Oil Well Incident in Indiana Twp.

Canonsburg, Pa. – Earlier today, an explosion at a shallow, non-Marcellus Shale oil well occurred in Indiana Twp., Allegheny County, claiming the lives of two workers, according to reports. Although the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) represents companies producing natural gas, the MSC issued the following statement expressing condolences, and reinforcing its commitment to operating in the safest and most environmentally sensitive manner possible:

“Our Coalition may not represent this particular company or these particular workers, but the events that took place today represent an absolute tragedy for everyone involved in producing energy here in Pennsylvania. Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the families who lost loves ones today.

“What happened in Indiana Twp. today reminds us all how critically important it is to value the health and safety of your workforce. That’s why our member companies and their contractors continue to work day-in and day-out to ensure those protections and safeguards are in place, and are constantly improved and strengthened, as new technology and insight becomes available. These are investments we will continue to make, part of an industry-wide effort to implement a series of best management practices aimed at ensuring that clean-burning energy resources from the Marcellus are developed the right way, and in a manner that protects our workers and the environment above all else.”


Onorato wants drilling to go on, but with care

WILKES-BARRE – Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Onorato said Thursday he doesn’t support a moratorium on drilling in the Marcellus Shale region, but he does want to see the gas industry grow in “a responsible way.”

“I will grant permits,” Onorato said. “But I want these companies to hire Pennsylvanians. I don’t want to see a bunch of Oklahoma and Texas license plates here.”

Onorato visited the Scranton Chamber of Commerce to speak to members and young professionals of POWER Scranton to discuss the opportunities for economic growth in Scranton.

“Northeast Pennsylvania is in a unique situation to benefit from great economic growth,” he said. “The combination of location, resources and infrastructure could lead to an economic boon for the region’s economy.”

Onorato is opposed by Republican Tom Corbett, who has served two terms at the state’s attorney general.

Onorato knows Northeastern Pennsylvania – he is married to the former Shelly Ziegler of Mountain Top. Onorato said he has traveled to the region regularly for the past 20 years to visit his in-laws, Bill and Sue Ziegler.

“The northeast region is very important to me,” he said. “I will be campaigning here a lot over the next 17 weeks. I see a lot of similarities between here and my home area of Pittsburgh.”

Onorato, 49, has served as the Allegheny County executive for seven years. He boasts that when the next budget is passed in October, it will mark 10 straight years of no tax increase in the county.

“I’ve run the second largest county in the Commonwealth,” Onorato said. “We’ve downsized government – going from 10 row offices to four and we consolidated five 911 centers to one. Those two moves alone saved taxpayers $7 million per year.”

Onorato, the father of three teenagers, said he is optimistic about the governor’s race. He said he doesn’t believe a poll released last week that showed Corbett ahead by 10 percentage points.

“The same people that did that poll also had McCain ahead of Obama in 2008,” He said. “All the polls I’ve seen show this race to be neck-and-neck. I know it will be a battle, but I believe I can win.”

Onorato said the northeast region’s proximity to New York and New Jersey makes it the perfect location to become the warehouse distribution center for the eastern part of the country.

“I see a lot of potential here,” he said.

The Democrat said he would seek to enact a severance tax on the Marcellus Shale drillers and he would use the revenue to fully fund the state Department of Environmental Protection. Onorato said DEP took a 28 percent budget cut last year and he wants to return the department to full capacity.

“If we’re going to allow drilling, then we need a department to watch over it and protect the water and the environment,” Onorato said.

Bill O’Boyle, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 829-7218.

Copyright: Times Leader

Luzerne County landowners waiting in natural gas boom

Gas-drilling leases negotiated in Wyoming County, not coming as quickly here.

TUNKHANNOCK – While Wyoming County landowners are heavily involved in the regional natural-gas boom, almost all Luzerne County landowners are out of luck, at least for now.

“It’s not always fun. There’s going to be some angst, there’s going to be some anxiety,” said Jack Sordoni, who heads Wilkes-Barre-based Homeland Energy Ventures LLC.

Energy companies and geologists have estimated for decades that billions of dollars of natural gas is locked in a layer of rock called Marcellus Shale that runs about a mile underground from upstate New York down to Virginia, including the northern tier of Pennsylvania. Only recently have technological advances and higher energy prices made extracting the gas financially feasible.

Speaking during a meeting Wednesday evening at the Tunkhannock Area High School, the Harveys Lake native said oil companies aren’t yet interested in crossing the county border. He said his family’s land in Wyoming County has been leased, but companies have refused to consider contiguous land across the county line.

However, Chris Robinson, who is brokering leases in Wyoming County for nearly $3,000 per acre and 17 percent royalties, said he’s already leased the western edge of Fairmount Township in northwestern Luzerne County.

Sordoni added that Dallas, Lake and Franklin townships are areas “Chris and I are hearing (about) repeatedly” and are “still very much prospective and in play.”

Luzerne County landowners anxiously awaiting a lease offer probably won’t have to wait long for an answer. Robinson, who’s from Allegheny County, said he planned to continue negotiating leases in the area until the gas companies are no longer interested.

“I don’t think it’s going to take that long. It’s measured in months at most,” he said.

The wait might, however, offer local landowners examples to consider. Unlike other land groups, the Wyoming landowners rolled all their concerns into the lease instead of adding addendums.

“The difference is this is our lease. This is about us,” said Chip Lions, a member of the group who’s now doing lease work.

The meeting was sponsored by Stone House Wealth Management LLC, a Montrose-based financial planning firm that’s advising landowners and selling them investment portfolios. The company, which started the Web site, got involved a while ago “because we saw where this was going to go,” said John Burke, an investment adviser with the company.

The good news, Robinson said, is that he can get leases for any property within the companies’ interested regions, no matter the size.

“I can’t tell you how many I’ve signed for 1 acre or less,” he said.

Additionally, he said that while some gas companies might honestly stop leasing, other companies new to the area desperately want in on the drilling rights. And, he said, they can check for clear land titles within five days, contrary to the three months they tell most land groups.

For landowners concerned about environmental problems, he said state agencies are good at watching drillers, noting his own enforcement experiences.

He warned, however, to not go it alone.

“The mass of ground gets people the best deal, period,” he said. “People who break away, you may be penalized and you may be penalizing your neighbors.”

Rory Sweeney, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 970-7418.

Copyright: Times Leader