NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Breaking News

Community News Network

April 18, 2014

Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

NEW CASTLE — Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

The new regulations, issued by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources last week, require companies to install sensitive seismic monitors for new gas and oil drilling within three miles of “a known fault or area of seismic activity greater than 2.0 magnitude."

If the monitors detect seismic activity greater than 1.0 magnitude, activity would halt and the cause would be investigated. If the investigation reveals a probable connection to the hydrolic fracturing, or “fracking” process, all “well completion operations” would be suspended.

ODNR geologists believe the sand and water injected into the ground at a Hilcorp Energy Co. well in Poland Township, Ohio, “may have increased pressure on an unknown microfault in the area," and may have ties to multiple earthquakes, ranging in magnitude from 2.1 to 3.0, that hit the area in March.

But across the border in Pennsylvania, Morgan Wagner, a spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Protection, said because the state “has no history of seismic events related to drilling, fracking or disposal wells,” the DEP “does not believe that there is enough information about the Ohio incident to relate hydraulic fracturing to an increased potential for earthquakes in Pennsylvania.”

Drilling remains suspended at the Hilcorp wellpad in Poland Township, but production on already-drilled wells continues there. According to the ODNR, production is expected to reduce underground pressure and decrease the likelihood of another earthquake.

The site is just across the state line from Mahoning Township in Pennsylvania, where Hilcorp also has several wellpads planned.

Hilcorp said it is reviewing Ohio’s new rules.

While the company determines how they will impact the Ohio operations, “... we remain fully committed to public safety and acting in a manner consistent with being a good corporate citizen in the communities where we operate.”

James Zehringer, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said, “While we can never be 100 percent sure that drilling activities are connected to a seismic event, caution dictates that we take these new steps to protect human health, safety and the environment.

Wagner added, “We are, however, monitoring Ohio’s situation and have the authority to shut down any well at any time if concerns were to develop.”

A seismologist with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation confirmed the finding is the first in the region to suggest a connection between the quakes and actual extraction of oil and gas as opposed to wastewater disposal.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network

Offbeat
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans