Author Archives: Stephen C. Smith

New York Bans Hydraulic Fracturing

On December 17, 2014, the Acting Commissioner of Health for the New York State Department of Health issued a report recommending that High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (HVHF) not be permitted in New York due to “significant uncertainties about the kinds of adverse health outcomes that may be associated with HVHF, the likelihood of the occurrence… Read More »

Expect More Regulation of Methane & GHGs

During his recent visit to China, President Obama reached a “historic” agreement with China regarding each country’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) to combat climate change. President Obama announced the United States would strive for a more aggressive goal of reducing GHGs by 26-28% by 2025, surpassing the previous goal of cutting GHGs by… Read More »

Sensible Development of Shale Energy Resources

Is it possible that a billionaire who gave the Sierra Club $50 million to combat air pollution would support shale gas development?   On July 21, 2011, the New York Times reported that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he would donate $50 million to the Sierra Club to help address climate change concerns.… Read More »

New Studies Find Hydraulic Fracturing Not a Risk to Groundwater

Discussions about the potential for environmental contamination associated with energy exploration and production inevitably lead to agreement on the value of unbiased technical evaluation to expose the truth and provide answers uninfluenced by emotion. Two recent studies by academia indicate that hydraulic fracturing to liberate shale gas does not cause contamination of drinking water aquifers… Read More »

Marcellus Gas Play Generates Political Skirmishing in PA

The Marcellus shale gas play in Pennsylvania has generated abundant natural gas, stimulated economic activity in several regions that have been struggling and created fertile arenas for political skirmishing. These skirmishes crisscross the state and involve a variety of political combatants. In September 2013, Democrat Attorney General Kathleen Kane filed criminal charges against XTO Energy… Read More »

Enviros Seek to Preclude Affirmative Defenses in Clean Air Act Citizen Suits

On April 18, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the D. C. Circuit upheld Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations setting emission standards for hazardous air pollutants from cement kilns but struck down an affirmative defense that protected cement plant operators from civil penalties in private citizen suits if the exceedances resulted from “unavoidable… Read More »

Lawsuit May Provide Clarity on PA Environmental Rights Amendment

On May 9, 2014, the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation (PEDF) filed a petition in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania seeking to enjoin Governor Corbett from proceeding by executive order to enable energy companies to conduct horizontal drilling on private lands adjacent to State parks and forest lands.  The PEDF filed the petition in a pending… Read More »

President Obama’s Methane Reduction Strategy

On March 28, 2014, President Obama released his methane reduction strategy (MRS) as the next step in the administration’s efforts to fight climate change, following through on the broad based “Climate Action Plan” outlined by the president during a speech in June 2013.  While carbon dioxide remains the principal greenhouse gas of concern (EPA estimates… Read More »

U.S. Energy Exports Put(in) a Punch

In a prior post, I mentioned the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 and long lines at gas stations.  The public consternation from this crisis led Congress to enact legislation prohibiting the export of crude oil.  This prohibition did not include natural gas.  Until recently, the domestic energy supply and demand curve made it more likely… Read More »

The Winds of Change: Are We Ready for Offshore Wind Energy?

Readers of this blog in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia may agree that we seem to be blessed with abundant energy sources in our own Appalachian backyards which have provided stable energy to fuel our factories, industrial might and status as a world superpower.  But the development of these resource has presented environmental concerns, reigniting… Read More »