WILKES-BARRE — Pennsylvania has a vast supply of contaminated water flowing daily from its abandoned mine works; 300 million gallons a day by the state’s estimate.
The natural gas industry needs vast quantities of water to unlock gas from the Marcellus Shale; between 2 million and 10 million gallons to stimulate a well a single time.
Using the state’s latest natural resource boom to clean up the legacy of the last one seems like a natural pairing, and it’s one state and environmental regulators as well as the natural gas drilling industry are taking seriously.
At the suggestion of the Governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission last year, the state Department of Environmental Protection is in the process of establishing an approval process for the use of acid mine drainage in hydraulic fracturing.
It is tailoring that process to address concerns that could discourage the industry from using mine water.
The Susquehanna River Basin Commission, which permits drillers to withdraw water from within the Susquehanna’s watershed, began encouraging drillers to use acid mine drainage when fracturing by reducing or eliminating permit fees for “lesser-quality waters,” including water contaminated by mining and public wastewater.
It has since gone a step further in requiring companies that apply to withdraw fresh water from sources close to mine water to explain as part of their applications why they are unwilling to use the mine water instead.
“They’re going to have to justify to us why they’re not using that impaired water,” commission spokeswoman Susan Obleski said.
Acid mine drainage refers to the outpouring of water that has run its course through mine workings, where it has picked up minerals — often sulfides — and has often acquired an acidic pH.
Its use in hydraulic fracturing could have two environmental advantages: It could reduce the amount of higher-quality water withdrawn from rivers and streams for use in drilling and the treating the water for use in drilling could reduce the amount of mine water flowing elsewhere.
Following a theme we recently heard from NJ Gov. Chris Christie, Maine’s Tea Party Gov. Paul LePage tells the unemployed to “get off the couch.” Of course, there are plenty of jobs out there – if you can work for minimum wage and only get 20 hours a week!
WASHINGTON — At the Maine GOP convention on Sunday, Gov. Paul LePage (R) received an enthusiastic standing ovation from his fellow Republicans for saying that all able-bodied out-of-work Americans need to “get off the couch” and go find employment.
Mike Tipping, communications director for the Maine People’s Alliance, said LePage’s comments were “downright offensive to Maine people searching for work in a difficult economy, especially considering his embarrassing record of failing to invest in programs that create jobs and cutting assistance for the unemployed while at the same time giving massive new tax breaks to the wealthy.”
Christine Hastedt, public policy director at Maine Equal Justice Partners, called them “a gross insult to working people who get up every day and become discouraged by the end of the day, because there’s not a job for them.”
“We talk to people every day,” said Hastedt. “There are not enough jobs for the people who want them. There aren’t enough hours in the jobs for people who need them. These are jobs that don’t provide health care, and certainly don’t provide child care. Those are services that people need to get even the jobs that they could get. Nevertheless, he’s cutting those safety net benefits that make it possible for people to work.”
During a yearlong investigation, The Dispatch collected and analyzed nearly 30,000 consumer complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general in 24 states that alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act by the three largest credit-reporting agencies in the United States — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Industry observers say it is among the most comprehensive reviews ever conducted of complaints against credit-reporting agencies.
The complaints document the inability of consumers to correct errors that range from minor to financially devastating. Consumers said the agencies can’t even correct the most obvious mistakes: That’s not my birth date. That’s not my name. I’m not dead.
Nearly a quarter of the complaints to the FTC and more than half of the complaints to the attorneys general involved mistakes in consumers’ financial accounts for credit cards, mortgages or car loans. Houses sold in bank-approved “short sales,” at less than the value of the mortgage, were listed as foreclosures. Car loans that had been paid off were reported as repossessions. Credit cards that had been paid off and closed years earlier showed as delinquent.
As Demos demonstrated in our report, “Discrediting America,” credit reporting errors can have a devastating impact. The Columbus Dispatch found something similar, powerfully documenting “the plight of thousands who, through no fault of their own, have been denied the chance to buy a home or a car, take out a loan for college, rent an apartment, land a job, join the Armed Forces, receive medical care or even open a checking account.”
Even if no error occurred, bad credit may have more to do with unavoidable medical expensesthan any underlying character flaw, suggests the New York Times report. Because a growing portion of medical providers’ revenues come directly from patients, the Times finds, doctors and hospitals are turning over more debt to collection agencies, and turning it over more quickly.
FICO, which produces one of the most popular credit scores used by lenders, said it viewed different types of collection agency accounts — medical-related or otherwise — as equally damaging. For someone with a spotless credit history, “it wouldn’t surprise me if their score dropped by 100 points or more [due to a late medical bill],” said Frederic Huynh, a principal analytic scientist at FICO. And the blemish does not entirely disappear for seven years.